Food Digest : 2016

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Virginia Tech. Food Science and Technology Department


Message from the Department Head: The newsletter is a chance for us to reflect on the many activities of the Department of Food Science and Technology over the last year and to look ahead. In our last newsletter we detailed the opportunity to hire two new faculty positions. We are pleased to announce that Cristina Fernández-Fraguas and Haibo Huang have joined our department. With the addition of these new faculty the department has six assistant professors, the most assistant professors in the history of the department. Also joining our faculty as a research associate is Jian Wu. We feel very fortunate to have Jian join the department after completing his Ph.D. at Virginia Tech. Bill Eigel retired this year with plans to be more involved with the many service organizations that he and his wife continue to support. We very much miss Bill for his mentoring of students and dedication to teaching but appreciate that he is enjoying his retirement. Sue Duncan has been promoted to associate director of the Virginia Tech Agricultural Experiment Station. She will continue to have a small appointment in the department to continue her research in sensory science and advising graduate students. This year we will start a search to find a new faculty member to provide leadership in sensory research. A lot has changed in the pilot plants this year with the addition of the Virginia Tech-DuPont Convenience Packaging Collaboratory. This unique partnership brings new packaging equipment to our pilot plant. Additionally, we made significant progress in getting pilot plant support for the fermentation option we just began. The department now has malting equipment that allows us to process barley into malt and evaluate the finished product. In July we installed our state-ofthe-art pilot brewhouse made for us in Munich, Germany. To this we have added advanced pilot plant distillation equipment also manufactured in Germany. It is really exciting to see new equipment being installed in the pilot plant and know that fermentation research and extension will be possible for many years to come. Recently I vacationed in the Orlando area and saw the themed parks that most of us have enjoyed. A lot of imagination goes into building a world where wizards fly and play Quidditch with their mates and rivals. I realized that imagination is put to good use in our department on a regular basis, also. Our students have received national recognition for their products in national competitions. Our new faculty members are bringing imagination to instruction and experiential learning. Faculty and staff are daily engaged in cutting edge science where their imagination is being stretched. We hope you will come to see us and more importantly help us build a better Department of Food Science and Technology. We invite you to put your imagination to work to foresee a department in Virginia that serves our students, stakeholders, alumni, and friends in creative and innovative ways. Best personal regards, Joe Marcy.