Protein Basics Short Course 2024


Protein Basics Short Course 2024

The Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) is excited to announce our Fourth Protein Basics Short Course will be held on May 20th and 21st, 2024 in Room 15 at the Food Science and Nutrition Building on the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus. We will have speakers from both industry and academia to discuss current and upcoming market trends, give an overview on food proteins, provide basic protein chemistry, cover production of protein ingredients, introduce protein modification for enhanced functionality, highlight challenges and opportunities when formulating with plant proteins, and more. The course will feature live demonstrations and experiences in the PPIC analytical laboratories, test kitchen, and the UMN Pilot Plant.

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