Briefly describe your career path—up to this point.
I earned my BS and PhD degrees in Food Science at UW-Madison. During my graduate studies I also participated in the Delta program, and earned a certificate in teaching and learning. I would highly recommend the program to interested students and faculty. After UW-Madison, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the Tufts University TEACRS Program (Training in Education and Critical Research Skills) which is an NIH IRACDA program. As a postdoctoral fellow, I worked at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. The TEACRS program provided a unique opportunity for mentored research, teaching, grant writing, and lab management. Before returning to Madison, I was an Assistant Professor in the Nutritional Sciences Department at the University of Connecticut.
What is the main focus of your research program?
We are working to understand how foods prevent chronic disease. Our focus has been on how yogurt, berries, and nuts act in the gut to inhibit chronic inflammation associated with obesity, colitis, and cardiovascular disease. We are also actively working to better characterize plant polyphenol composition and their metabolism after consumption, as these may be responsible for the health benefits of certain foods. Our latest work in this area has been with aronia berries and almonds.
What drew you to UW-Madison?
I really like the environment for teaching and research in the Department of Food Science, CALS, and the University and the supportive colleagues here. There are many fantastic opportunities for collaboration and world-class facilities for research support. Also, Madison is a great place to live and work!
What do you like to do outside of work?
Reading with my kids, biking, cross-country skiing, traveling, cooking (of course).