Food Science and Human Nutrition

Enhancing human health and quality of life through education, research, and outreach in food and nutrition sciences.

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN) at Iowa State University (ISU), located in the heartland of the United States, is among the top programs in the nation.

Administered by the Colleges of Agriculture and Life Sciences and Human Sciences, FSHN offers significant opportunities for students to study in fully equipped, state of the art laboratories; network with professionals and alumni through student organizations and professional associations; study abroad in places like Spain, India, and Peru.

Our world-renowned faculty provide expertise on a diverse range of topics surrounding food and nutrition. They are on the cutting edge of interdisciplinary research such as the nutritional relationships in cancer, diabetes and obesity and the development and production of new food products that promote health and prevent disease. Collaborating with the BioCentury Research Farm, Center for Crops Utilization Research, Midwest Grape and Wine Industry Institute, Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center, and Nutrition and Wellness Research Center, and others, FSHN students and faculty are promoting health and well-being through food and nutrition.

Food Science and Human Nutrition News

Erick Estrada, Karter Ewing, Wiliam Franke, Miranda Hahn, Casey Halder, Cynthia Reyes, and Megan Slattery announced as Cyclone Aides
The seven new Cyclone Aides for the College of Human Sciences include: Erick Estrada, a junior in early childhood education; Karter Ewing, a sophomore in exercise science; William Franke, a freshman in pre-health professions; Randi (Maranda) Hahn, a junior in pre-health professions; Casey Halder, a senior in culinary science; Cynthia Reyes, a freshman elementary education; Megan Slattery, a sophomore diet and exercise.

Congratulations to the Borlaug Student Poster Competition Winners!

Iowa State University's Nutritional Sciences Council and the World Food Prize Foundation co-hosted the Norman Borlaug annual lecture and student poster competition on Monday, October 12th. The Norman Borlaug annual lecture is named for the Cresco native and agronomist whose discoveries sparked the Green Revolution. Borlaug received the Nobel Peace Prize for his international work in wheat research and production, which has saved millions of lives. He is the founder of the World Food Prize, which annually recognizes the achievements of individuals who have advanced human development by improving the quality, quantity or availability of food in the world.

The student poster competition was held prior to the Normal Borlaug lecture at the Memorial Union. Congratulations to the following students who were winners in this competition.


Graduate Students:

Hong You, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Quantifying the Bioefficacy of β-Carotene-biofortified Sorghum Using a Mongolian Gerbil Model

Sharon Tusiime, Horticulture,  Current Tomato Seed Management Practices among in- and out-of-school Youth in Kamuli, Uganda

Ryan Huffman, Agronomy, Interaction of Genetic Mechanisms Regulating Methionine Concentration in Maize Grain


Undergraduate Students:

Amanda Bries, Food Science & Human Nutrition, Polyphenol and Phytic Acid Determination in Tepary Bean and Common Bean Varieties

Melissa Larson, Global Resource Systems, Borehole Accessibility and Quality in Kamuli, Uganda

Anna Fisher, Global Resource Systems, Aflatoxin Contamination in Groundnuts: Determining Awareness Of its Effects on Human Health


Contest judges:

Mark Westgate - Agronomy

Ted MacDonald - Global Resource Systems

Clark Ford, Christina Campbell, Jean Anderson - Food Science and Human Nutrition


Donna Winham, Food Science and Human Nutrition, and Helen Jensen, Economics-AGLS, coordinated the contest submission and proceedings.

Announcing 2015 FSHN Alumni Award Winners and Homecoming Activities


FSHN is pleased to announce the winners of the 2015 FSHN Alumni Impact Award. Those being honored are Justin Kanthak (2007, BS Food Science & Technology); Charlotte Hayes (80, BS Dietetics and Community Nutrition); Julie Simonson (87, BS Food Science & Technology). Award winners are department alumni who have excelled and made an impact in their professions or their community, while still holding the Iowa State spirit. All three will spend a day on campus sharing memories with faculty and advice for the next generation of alums. Finally, they will receive their award at the annual FSHN Awards Banquet held during FSHN’s Homecoming events.

Justin Kanthak has spent 18 years in the foodservice industry as a corporate chef, product developer and in sales focusing on Foodservice National Chain Accounts. His experiences have included companies such as Cargill, The Schwan Food Company, Tate & Lyle, and his current position as a National Account Manager for Kellogg’s in addition to his 10 years in the back of the house in restaurants across the country. In addition to the chairing the External Advisory Council within the ISU FSHN department, Justin sits on the Research Chef’s Association Board of Directors as well as the Research Chefs Foundation.

Justin earned his AA degree in 2002 from the Culinary Institute of America and his BS degree in Food Science in 2007 from Iowa State University. Outside of his full time work, Justin enjoys spending time with his wife Jinny (ISU FSHN Alum), his son Jackson and his dog, Pepper. Justin and his family reside in Bartlett, IL.

Julie Simonson joined The Schwan Food Company in 2012 as to lead teams in Research and Development responsible for the creation of innovative new products, improve existing product designs, and drive value creation through product cost optimization. Julie was instrumental in improving project execution and processes, fostering an innovative culture, and championing people and team development. In October 2015, Julie assumed leadership of Technology Development within Schwans. Her teams of process and packaging engineers, research scientists, chefs, and regulatory affairs and specification specialists are identifying and advancing the future technology platforms for the company and its business units.

Prior to this appointment with Schwans, Julie was with the Campbell Soup Company for 4 years, where she held Vice President R&D roles leading business unit development teams and global technology advancement. Julie also spent 17 years with Kraft, including five years in Europe leading R&D for Cheese & Dairy and additional categories, as well as leading Confectionary R&D in Central and Eastern Europe. She worked for Kraft in Madison, Wisconsin for 3 years leading R&D teams working on Oscar Mayer products and Boca meat alternatives. Her career began with Kraft in Chicago working in product development on salad dressings and dinners and leading long-term research programs.

Julie earned her BS degree in Food Science from Iowa State University and her PhD degree in Food Science from the University of Minnesota. She resides in Marshall, MN with her husband, Dave, and they have two daughters in college. She also plays bassoon in the Southwest Minnesota Orchestra.

Charlotte Hayes is Director of Research and Education at Team Novo Nordisk. In this role she coordinates education and research activities for TNN, works with athletes in an advanced practice role as a Certified Diabetes Educator, and ensures that nutrition goals for optimal performance, including glycemic control, are achieved. Prior to joining Team Novo Nordisk, Charlotte was Senior Director of Programs and Policy, Good Measure Meals™/Open Hand-Atlanta where she guided community-based and translational research projects which focused on nutrition, physical activity and population health. From 1987 – 1997, Charlotte was the Diabetes Nutrition and Exercise Specialist, on a highly specialized diabetes team, at a Diabetes Treatment Centers of America center in Atlanta.

Charlotte completed her dietetic internship and an MMSc degree in clinical dietetics from Emory University School of Medicine, a MS degree in Adult Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation from University of Wisconsin La-Crosse, and a BS degree in Dietetics and Community Nutrition from Iowa State University.


Not only will these outstanding individuals be recognized, but all faculty, staff and students receiving awards will be recognized. Everyone is invited to stop by the annual FSHN Tailgate on Saturday and those in need of a game ticket may purchase one through the department and sit with the FSHN family. All alumni and friends of the department are invited to join the celebration at Homecoming, October 30 – 31, 2015. Register to attend any or all of the weekend’s events.

Iowa State Students Create Cookbook to Utilize Damaged Crops


Food Science Junior, Michaela Minock (left) and Culinary Science Senior, Haley Brown (right) create recipes for cookbook to utilize damaged crops.

Food Science and Human Nutrition faculty and students are working with Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension and Outreach at Iowa State University to help create a cookbook that will utilize crops damaged by spotted wing drosophila due the rapid spread of this invasive pest this year. The spotted wing drosophila is a fruit crop pest that attacks healthy ripening fruit, just as it is reaching maturity.

The cookbook will provide recipes for damaged berries such as, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and aronia berries, a super berry with colossal antioxidant power. Students have developed over 150 recipes with berries affected by spotted wing drosophila. Recipes include: blackberry barbecue sauce, raspberry vinaigrette, aronia oatmeal cookies, strawberry and cream cake, and raspberry applesauce.

The berries are gathered and examined by an outside source before being sent to FSHN students working in Dr. Angela Shaw and Dr. Lester Wilson’s food testing laboratories. The berries are being sent by Iowa farmers struggling with damaged crops. Joe Hannan, Commercial Horticulture Specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach, collects the berries to evaluate severity of damage following FDA procedures. Berries are collected, extracted and weighed before being sent to Dr. Wilson and Dr. Shaw.

FSHN students work in their labs to process berry samples in baked and value added foods. Students create and test recipes for deviation in taste, texture, color and overall visual appearance. The majority of berries are turned into sauces, combined into baked goods, sauces and condiments, pureed, and mixed with many other ingredients.

Food Science Junior, Michaela Minock, emphasizes that the damaged berries can still be put to good use.

“We don’t want the berries to go to waste. A lot of farmers last year had up to a few acres wiped out and they couldn’t sell any berries because of the damage.”

Even if not sold fresh, consumers can still eat berries, preventing them from going to waste.

“This project benefits the farmers growing these berries, and it gives the students first-hand experience in research, product development, quality evaluation, and shelf life determination,” said Dr. Wilson. “This will help them throughout their careers.”


Key Contacts:

Lester Wilson, University Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, 515-294-3889,

Angela Shaw, Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, 515-294-0868,

Joe Hannan, Field Specialist, Extension to Agriculture- ISU Extension, Iowa State University, 515-993-4281,

Michaela Minock, Junior in Food Science,

Megan Pulse, Marketing and Communications, Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Iowa State University, 515-294-9166,



Dairy Products Evaluation Club Students Win at National and Regional Competitions


FSHN students, Abby Sparks, Cheng Chan, Zenia Adiwijaya, Sarah Hansen, Emily Simonson, Annastasia Tjong, Geena Whalen, Kangzi Ren, Fei Wang and Animal Science students Katherine Lowe and Samantha Lobb competed in two Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contests this past week. Saturday, September 12th was the regional Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest, hosted by the Kraft Heinz Company. The 94th Collegiate Dairy Products Evaluation Contest was held on Tuesday, September 15th. The contest was hosted by the International Dairy Foods Association and held at the International Dairy Show at McCormick Place in Chicago.

FSHN senior and Dairy Products Evaluation Club president, Abigail Sparks placed first in butter judging at the regional contest and was awarded the Joe Larson Merit award for exemplary leadership at the national contest. Food Science & Technology Ph.D. student, Kangzi Ren, placed first in cottage cheese, second in butter, and third in milk judging at the regional contest. She placed third in milk and cheddar cheese judging at the national contest and was the third place overall graduate student competitor in both contests. Cheng Chan placed first in milk judging at the regional contest. Animal Science senior, Katherine Lowe, placed first in butter judging at the national contest. Animal Science senior, Samantha Lobb was an alternate in both competitions.

Congratulations to our Dairy Products Evaluation Club team members!

Contact: Stephanie Clark, Coach
Contact: Vaishnavi Sankarlal, Assistant coach, Team member last year

FSHN's Hanyu Yangcheng wins IFT Global Student Innovation Challenge

Iowa State University won the top prize at a national new food product development competition!

FSHN's student honor society Phi Tau Sigma named national chapter of the year

Students in food science and human nutrition are garnering top national honors. Iowa State's local chapter of the Phi Tau Sigma honor society were named the Chapter of the Year at the Institute of Food Technologists annual national conference in Chicago, July 11, in Chicago More».

ISU Dietetics Interns complete community nutrition rotation in India

Students with the Iowa State University Dietetics Internship in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition completed their community nutrition rotation in Dharwad, India.

FSHN's Lily Benner wins first for IFT's best student research paper

Lily Benner, a graduate student in food science and human nutrition and adviser Stephanie Clark, won first place in best student research paper competition at IFT15 in Chicago. More».

FSHN's Hanyu Yangcheng takes invention to national finalists at IFT15 this weekend

Hanyu Yangcheng, a graduate student in food science and human nutrition, this weekend takes the KIK food stabilizer system he invented to be judged at the Institute of Food Technologists' Global Student Innovation Challenge.