Protein Basics Short Course 2021

pilot plant
Dilek Demo

2nd Protein Basics Short Course 2021

The Plant Protein Innovation Center (PPIC) hosted its Second Protein Basics Short Course, in person, on December 6-7, 2021, at the University of Minnesota's St. Paul Campus.  After having to cancel the short course offering in 2020, the short course was revived and attracted 52 attendees (reaching a cap) from 27 companies and organizations

This year’s Protein Basics Short Course agenda included a diverse set of presentations covering an overview of food proteins, strategies, and technical challenges when processing and formulating using plant protein ingredients. Presenters were experts at the University of Minnesota and the food industry.  The course kicked off with an overview of protein product trends in the U.S. market from PPIC’s Director Prof. B. Pam Ismail. The agenda also emphasized discussions on protein functionality and structure, extraction and extrusion practices, flavor interactions, and formulations. This provided a unique opportunity for short course attendees to participate in lab, food preparation, and pilot plant demonstrations.  Participants were led through best practices in structural characterization, functionality testing, and protein isolation. “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.    

Did you miss out this year? No worries! The course will be held again next year! Subscribe to receive PPIC communications so you don't miss a beat.



Lab Demonstrations
product testing


Pilot plant tour


Prof Job Presenting



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 25 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

Michelle Manderfeld, Senior R&D Manager, General Mills

Michelle Manderfeld

Michelle Manderfeld is currently a Senior R&D Manager at General Mills, leading the Protein Technology Program within the Department of Nutrition • Technology • Science.  Michelle received her B.A. degree in Chemistry at St. Olaf College and her M.S. degree in Food Science at the University of Minnesota.  Prior to her experience at General Mills, Michelle held positions in R&D at Cargill and Merlin Development, Inc.  She has 28 years of product development experience as well as deep technical expertise in the areas of dietary fiber and protein. 

Topic 3 - Formulating with Proteins: Technical Challenges & Consumer Acceptance

Dilek Uzunalioglu, R&D Leader, Director of Food Applications, Motif FoodWorks Inc.


Dilek Uzunalioglu is R&D leader with experience in managing R&D programs, projects, and technical teams to develop and commercialize innovative food ingredients. Dilek is currently Director, Food Applications at Motif FoodWorks Inc., leading food application development for Motif’s ingredient portfolio designed to improve taste, texture, and nutrition of plant-based foods. Prior joining Motif, Dilek led Ingredion Global Bakery & Snack Application team as well as Global Plant Protein application team, teams with responsibilities to develop application capabilities and to lead the development of new ingredients such as starches, gluten-free flour systems, fibers, pulse flours and proteins. Dilek is an expert in developing food ingredients/solutions and food formulations, ingredient processing & scale-up. 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 served as a Chair at Cereals & Grain Association Carbohydrate Division and Engineering & Processing Division. Currently, she is chair for Cereals and Grain Association Book Acquisition committee as well as part of IFT Protein Division leadership team. Dilek has been serving as a champion for WINGS for growth for 2021 and 2002 Cohorts supporting women professionals in their 10-month mentorship program. She published several journal articles, conference papers and two book chapters. She lives with her son Onat and her husband Huseyin in Winchester, MA. She loves sourdough bread baking and enjoys hiking and biking with her family. 

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

Job Ubbink, Professor and Head of Department, University of Minnesota

Job Ubbink

Dr. Job Ubbink is Professor and Head of the Food Science and Nutrition Department at the University of Minnesota. He was trained as a physical and polymer chemist at the University of Leiden (The Netherlands) and he obtained his PhD in Chemical Engineering and Materials Science at Delft University of Technology (The Netherlands). He has worked for over 15 years in R&D positions in the food industry, including 11 years at the Nestlé Research Center (Lausanne, Switzerland). Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. Ubbink was associated with the California Polytechnic State University (San Luis Obispo), the University of Bristol (UK) and the ETH Zurich (Switzerland). He was visiting scientist at Moscow State University (Russia) and he has taught as visiting professor at the School of Food Engineering, University of Campinas (Brazil). He has used extrusion for a variety of food systems, including cereals and snacks, petfood, instant beverages, meat- and pasta analogues, and controlled release systems for flavors and bioactives. His further research interests include the glassy state in foods, rheology of highly concentrated systems, delivery of active ingredients and the science of cooking. 

Topic 6 - Principles and practice of plant protein extrusion

Gary Reineccius, Professor and Head, Department of Food Science & Nutrition, University of Minnesota


Dr. Gary Reineccius has been actively involved in flavor research for more than 47 years. During this time he has published over 230 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 he is conducting three research projects on plant proteins. One project is focused on identifying the chemical components in pea protein isolates that contribute off flavors and the second is similar but targets pennycress protein isolates.  Our assumption is that the industry can better design processing techniques to provide bland protein isolates if the offending odorants are known. The third project is focused on improving the stability of flavorings when added to foods containing plant protein isolates. There is evidence that flavor components will form covalent bonds with the sidechains of proteins thereby removing their contribution to flavor perception.

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