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Patricia Murphy, Food Science and Human Nutrition, (515) 294-1970
Teddi Barron, News Service, (515) 294-4778


AMES, Iowa -- Four candidates for the director of Iowa State University's Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition have been announced.

The candidates are Casimir C. Akoh, professor of food science and technology at the University of Georgia, Athens; Sung I. Koo, professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, Manhattan; Jay Whelan, associate professor of nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; and Dennis T. Gordon, professor of cereal science at North Dakota State University, Fargo.

The Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition is one of nine research centers in Iowa State's Plant Sciences Institute. It has been a research center at Iowa State since 1990, administered through the College of Family and Consumer Sciences. The center conducts and fosters interdisciplinary research to improve nutrition and promote good health through new and traditional foods. Research emphasizes improving human diets by enhancing the plant-based constituents and by improving feeding strategies of animals used for animal-based foods.

The director will lead the center's research and outreach programs and supervise the core facilities.

Diane Birt, professor and chairman of the food science and human nutrition department, has served as the center's director since 1997.

All four candidates will interview on campus in April and May and give public presentations on their research and visions for the Center for Designing Foods to Improve Nutrition. A schedule for these presentations is below.

Casimir C. Akoh
Research presentation: April 9, 4 p.m., 1951 Food Sciences
Vision presentation: April 10, 11:30 a.m., 1951 Food Sciences

Sung I. Koo
Research presentation: April 16, 4 p.m., 302 Catt Hall
Vision presentation: April 17, 11 a.m., 1652 Gilman Hall

Jay Whelan
Research presentation: May 3, 4 p.m., 1951 Food Sciences
Vision Presentation: May 4, 11 a.m., 1951 Food Sciences

Dennis T. Gordon
Research presentation: May 7, 4 p.m., 1951 Food Sciences
Vision presentation: May 8, 11 a.m., 1951 Food Sciences

Akoh has been on the faculty at the University of Georgia since 1992 and has established a recognized research program in fat substitutes and lipid biotechnology. In 1998, Akoh received the Institute of Food Technologists Samuel Cate Prescott Award for outstanding ability in research in food science and technology. He is associate editor of the Journal of the American Oil Chemists' Society. Akoh earned a B.Sc. in biochemistry from the University of Nigeria in 1981, an M.S. in biochemistry in 1985 and a Ph.D. in food science in 1988, both from Washington State University.

Prior to joining the human nutrition faculty at Kansas State University in 1990, Koo was on the biochemistry faculty at Oral Roberts University School of Medicine for 10 years. His research is on lipid and lipid-soluble vitamin metabolism as affected by nutritional status, dietary phytochemicals and steroid hormones. Koo serves as the panel manager of the Human Nutrition Program of the USDA National Research Initiative Competitive Grants Program. He is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Nutraceuticals, Functional and Medical Foods and the Journal of Food Science and Nutrition. Koo earned a B.S. in animal science from Kon-Kuk University, Korea, in 1970; an M.S. in animal nutrition from the University of New Hampshire in 1973; and a Ph.D. in nutrition from Clemson University in 1976.

Whelan has been on the nutrition faculty at the University of Tennessee since 1991. He served as a senior research associate of the Lipids Research Laboratory Institute of Food Science at Cornell University from 1988-1991. His research is on the role of dietary lipids in cancer progression and cancer prevention He has received several awards from the University of Tennessee for his research and scholarship. Whelan serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Nutrition. Whelan earned a B.S. in biochemistry from Southern Connecticut State University in 1976; an M.P.H. from the University of North Carolina in 1982; and a Ph.D. in nutrition science from Penn State University in 1988.

Before joining the faculty at North Dakota State University in 1995, Gordon had been on the food science and human nutrition faculty at the University of Missouri since 1979. From 1974-1979, he was an assistant professor at Oregon State University. Gordon conducts research on the physiological effects of fermentable carbohydrates added to foods. He is an invited scientific lecturer for the Institute of Food Technologists and chair of the Committee to Define Dietary Fiber for the American Association of Cereal Chemists. Gordon earned a B.S. in dairy technology from the University of Illinois in 1963; and an M.S. in dairy technology in 1969 and a Ph.D. in nutritional biochemistry in 1974, both from the University of Connecticut in 1974.


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