Protein Basics Short Course 2024

dilek sc 2024
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mitch sc 2024
serap sc 2024
jeanne and allie b sc 2024
mitch sc 2024

Protein Basics Short Course 2024

The Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) hosted its fourth Protein Basics Short Course on May 20-21, 2024 at the University of Minnesota; welcoming 50 participants from over 33 companies and organizations. This is the fourth year in a row PPIC has hit their registration cap for the highly sought-after event!
The Protein Basics Short Course covered many topics, including a comprehensive overview of food proteins, protein chemistry, functionality enhancement, flavor, formulation, extrusion principles, and technical challenges with plant proteins.
The presenters included experts from the University of Minnesota, Roquette America, Motif FoodWorks, and Buhler. PPIC’s Director Prof. B. Pam Ismail opened the event with an overview of food proteins and trends in the U.S. market; delving into the current advantages, disadvantages, and challenges of the expansive list of alternative proteins being explored. Jennifer Kimmel, head of R&D at Roquette Americas, spoke about the consumer dynamics that drive acceptance and sustained repeat purchases. Additional lectures by the experts examined the relationship between protein structure and its functionality, the impact of extrusion processing methods and equipment on protein structure, the challenges faced with plant-based formulations, and protein-flavor interactions.  
The short course also demonstrated a thorough exploration of protein extraction, modification, characterization, and functionality testing for participants.  Attendees had the unique opportunity to participate in plant-based product formulation and experienced scaled-up protein isolation and plant protein ingredient extrusion in the pilot plant. Robert Mitchell, a process engineer with the Bühler group, supplemented his extrusion lecture with these demonstrations in the pilot plant.  “The demonstrations are very valuable not only as a learning opportunity for participants but also as a way for us to demonstrate how PPIC dedicates its resources to further innovation in plant proteins,” states Prof. Ismail.  In addition, Dr. Dilek Uzunalioglu facilitated the demonstration of formulating plant protein-based cheese and meat, which complimented the tasting of commercial plant-based products – allowing the participants to have an in-depth discussion on their sensory characteristics and how they relate to the unique functional properties of plant proteins.
SC lab demos 2024
Short Course Pam presenting
Short Course Pilot Plant tour
Short course staff
Short Course demos
Mitch SC 2024

Protein Basics Short Course 2024 Agenda


B. Pam Ismail, Founder & Director of PPIC, Professor, University of Minnesota

Pam Ismail

Dr. Pam Ismail is the Founder and Director of the Plant Protein Innovation Center and is a Professor at the Department of Food Science and Nutrition, University of Minnesota. Dr. Ismail has over 28 years of experience in Food Chemistry research focused on analytical chemistry, protein chemistry, and chemistry and fate of bioactive food constituents. Her research focuses on structural characterization and enhancement of functionality, safety, bioavailability, and bioactivity of food proteins, following novel processing and analytical approaches. She is the recipient of a “Distinguished Teaching Award” and an “Outstanding Professor Award”. 

Topic 1 - Overview of Food Proteins and Trends
Topic 2 - Protein Chemistry and Functionality: Relating Structure to Function 
Topic 5 - Protein Modification to Enhance Functionality

Jennifer Kimmel, Head of Research and Development Americas, Roquette America, Inc.

Jennifer Kimmel

With nearly 20 years in the food industry for both finished product and ingredient development, Jennifer leads a team of scientists dedicated to understanding protein functionality at the structural level.  Using this knowledge the team works to integrate process development, characterization, and application performance to drive ingredient innovation.  Prior to her 5 years at Roquette, Jennifer served roles as the Ingredient Technology Manager at Glanbia Performance Nutrition and a Principal Protein Scientist with Kraft Foods.  Jennifer holds numerous patents for both product and ingredient development and has a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Texas A&M University.

Topic 3 - Industrial Challenges of Plant Proteins – from Field to Fork 

Dilek Uzunalioglu, Senior Director, Food Discovery & Design, Motif FoodWorks Inc.

Dilek Uzunalioglu

Dilek Uzunalioglu is R&D leader with experience in managing R&D programs, projects, and technical teams to develop and commercialize innovative food ingredients and products. Dilek is currently Senior Director of Food Discovery & Design at Motif FoodWorks Inc., leading food science and application research, and development for Motif’s ingredient portfolio and plant-based foods. Prior joining Motif, Dilek led Ingredion Global Bakery & Snack Application team as well as Global Plant Protein application team, with responsibilities to develop application capabilities and new ingredients such as starches, gluten-free flour systems, fibers, pulse flours and proteins. Dilek also has been an active member of Cereals and Grains Association and IFT with various roles. Currently, she is serving as IFT Protein Division Chair. Dilek holds a Ph.D. in Food Science from Rutgers University, and a Bachelor and a Master of Science degrees in Food Engineering from the Middle East Technical University. She published several journal articles, conference papers and two book chapters.

Topic 4 - Holistic Formulation Approaches and Strategies to Develop Plant-Based Foods
Demonstration - Product Formulation
Application -  Product Tasting

Robert Mitchell, Senior Process Engineer, Buhler

Robert Mitchell

Robert is Sr. Process Engineer at Buhler, based at the MISTA Innovation Center in San Francisco since January 2023. He has worked for Buhler since May 2020 in the Extrusion Technology team, focused primarily on alternative protein meat analogs, based out of the headquarters in Uzwil, Switzerland. Prior to joining Buhler he worked for Nestle in various locations across Switzerland as material scientist and project manager.  He holds a B.S. in Food Science from Cornell University and a PhD in Chemical and Biological Engineering from the University of Sheffield (UK). 

Topic 6 - Principles and Practice of Plant Protein Extrusion
Demonstration - Extrusion of plant protein ingredients

Gary Reineccius, Professor Emeritus and Past Head, University of Minnesota


Dr. Gary Reineccius has been actively involved in flavor research for more than 50 years. During this time he has published over 250 research articles. His research focuses on two areas: flavor related challenges and ingredient encapsulation. Flavor work has been quite broad covering methods for flavor analysis, off flavor identification and remediation, flavor release in the mouth when eating and its encapsulation (protection and controlled release).

Currently his group is conducting three research projects focused on plant proteins. One project is focused on reducing the inherent flavor of protein isolates (reduce objectionable flavors).  A second project is focused on the improving the stability of flavorings when added to foods containing plant protein isolates. We have provided data to show that added flavorings may contain components that are readily lost to covalent bonding with proteins. These losses will reduce product shelf-life.  A third project is focused on finding ways to reduce flavor: protein reactions. At this time, the effort is to evaluate the potential of moderate glycation to block reactive sites in proteins.  

Topic 7 - Proteins and Flavor


Mitchell Maher, Researcher, Pilot Plant, University of Minnesota

Mitch Maher

Mitchell Maher grew up on a farm in western Minnesota. He came to the University of Minnesota in 2005 to pursue a degree in Nutrition Science; he transferred into Food Science after a short time. He worked in the Joseph J. Warthesen Food Processing Center (also known as the pilot plant) as an undergraduate. After graduation, he worked for a short while for French Meadow Bakery Division of Rich Product. Shortly after that, he came back to work at the pilot plant. He has been with the pilot plant at the University of Minnesota for almost 12 years doing research and production, including extrusion and everything from dairy production to flavors. Mitchell’s hobbies include brewing beer and smoking meat.

Demonstration - Protein Isolation Illustration in the Pilot Plant

Protein Basics Short Course 2024 Location:


Room 15
Food Science and Nutrition Building
1334 Eckles Ave, 
St Paul, MN 55108