Former Staff

Charu Gupta, MS Food Science & Technology, Researcher II, [email protected]

Charu Gupta

Charu completed her M.S in Food Science and Technology in 2020 at the Iowa State University. During her Masters she worked with pea protein concentrate and amaranth. Then she worked for a startup as a researcher for 2 years, where she helped in developing wireless sensors to monitor cell growth. She joined Ismail lab in 2022  as a researcher but later decided to pursue her Ph.D. under Prof. Ismail instead. In Charu's free time, she enjoys watching movies, and traveling.

Sungil Ferreira, B. Eng, PhD, Postdoctoral Researcher, [email protected]

Sungil Ferreira

Dr. Sungil Ferreira joined PPIC in 2021 as a postdoctoral associate researcher developing studies in protein extraction and characterization with emphasis on oat and pea proteins. He has a bachelor in Food Science, Technology and Engineering and a PhD in Food Science and Engineering, from Sao Paulo State University (UNESP) in Brazil (2020). He completed part of his B.Eng at the University of British Columbia in Canada and part of his PhD at the University of Loughborough in the United Kingdom. He has experience working with encapsulation using spray drying, complex coacervation, ionic gelation, emulsification, with a focus on influence of process parameters and biopolymer structure. In addition, Sun has a strong background in physics and mathematical approaches. He now works in R&D for a plant-based food company in Canada.

Misen Luu, M.S., Researcher IV, [email protected]

Misen Luu


Misen Luu joined PPIC after he graduated with his Master’s in Food Science under Dr. Pam Ismail at the University of Minnesota – Twin Cities in January 2020. During his Master’s, he researched the storage stability of a novel perennial grain called Intermediate Wheatgrass, analyzing changes in dough functionality, flavor, and sensory attributes of the stored flour at different storage conditions. Before his graduate studies, Misen got his B.S. in Food Science from the University of Minnesota. As a PPIC Researcher, Misen was responsible for managing and conducting Industry projects, with emphasis on flavor associated with plant proteins. In the fall of 2021 Misen moved on from his research position at PPIC to work at PURIS Holdings as a Research and Development Project Manager. He works with the R&D team to develop healthy and sustainable plant-based foods for internal and external projects, primarily utilizing PURIS pea protein and ingredients.  

Holly Husband, B.S. Food Science & B.S. Nutrition Science, Researcher II, [email protected]

Holly Husband

Holly joined the PPIC team in January 2021 as a full-time researcher after completing her B.S. in Food Science and B.S. in Nutrition Science in December 2020 at the University of Minnesota. During her time with PPIC, Holly worked closely with industry partners on a variety of research projects including extraction optimization and structure-function characterization of plant proteins. She also trained new researchers and students on a variety of analytical techniques and oversaw maintenance of a number of analytical instruments. Outside of an academic setting, Holly gained industry experience through product development internships at SunOpta and Cargill in Summer 2019 and 2021, respectively, in which she worked on food applications of plant-based ingredients. In Fall 2021, Holly decided to leave her full-time PPIC position in pursuit of a M.S. in Food Science under Dr. Ismail researching the impact of globulin protein profile on pea protein functionality in various food applications. Holly also looks forward to broadening her industry experience in Summer 2022 with a product development internship at General Mills. 

Amy Mathiowetz, MS, RD, Former Manager of Operations, [email protected]

Amy Mathiowetz

Amy joined the PPIC as support staff in early 2019 following the completion of her M.S. in Food Science at the University of Minnesota under the advisement of Dr. B. Pam Ismail. Her research focused on characterizing the storage stability of a novel perennial grain, Intermediate Wheatgrass, in response to steam treatment. Although she has never worked with proteins directly, her 5 years of experience in Dr. Ismail's lab amidst protein work has enormously contributed to her knowledge on proteins research -- and her desire to learn more! Prior to coming to the University of Minnesota, Amy received her B.S. in Food and Nutrition Science, as well as Dietetics, from St. Catherine University in St. Paul, MN. She also completed an internship with Catallia Mexican Foods in Eagan, MN. Amy has a strong interest in the confluence of food science and nutritional science, and recently received her Registered Dietitian license (April 2019) following a 9 month internship in collaboration with the University of Minnesota, The Emily Program, and Regions Hospital. Amy is responsible for coordinating PPIC events, communications, and web design, as well as managing member relations and is proud to be a member of the PPIC team! Amy is currently working as a Food Technologist at Agropur, La Crosse, WI.

Therese Liffrig, Program Coordinator, [email protected]


As of late 2017, Therese started a newly formed position as Program Coordinator for FSCN. In this capacity, she works with Departmental projects and initiatives. She coordinates the Nutrition Faculty Mentoring Program, the implementation of the Strategic Plan, the Plant Protein Innovation Center, works with internal and external partners on Food Safety courses for food entrepreneurs, and is a facilitator for the Academic Health Center’s interprofessional education (IPE) course called Foundations of Interprofessional Communication and Collaboration (FIPCC). She works with the Nutrition Undergraduate Chair with program planning and assists with new student orientation. She is also the department adviser for the student group Student Ambassadors for Food, Health, and Culture.

Therese is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist with a background in clinical nutrition. She attended The College of St. Catherine in St. Paul (now called St. Catherine University), completed her Dietetic Internship at The Massachusetts General Hospital (Boston, Mass.), then worked at the Mayo Medical Center (Rochester) for 10 years. She specialized in Nutrition Support, Pediatric Diabetes, and Weight Loss. While in Rochester, Therese completed a Masters in Public Health Nutrition through the U of M School of Public Health, Twin Cities Campus.

Claire Boyle, MS, Former Manager of Operations

Claire Boyle

Claire joined the PPIC as support staff in Fall 2018 following the completion of her M.S. in Food Science at the University of Minnesota under the advisement of Dr. B. Pam Ismail. Her research focused on extraction, structural characterization, modification, and functional evaluation of protein from Camelina sativa, a novel oilseed, for potential food applications (link). Prior to her work on plant proteins, Claire completed research for her Honors thesis (B.S. Food Science, Fall 2014) on the digestibility and nutritional quality of partially glycated whey protein hydrolysate. She has also spent two summers interning with Cargill, gaining experience in formulating products with high-intensity sweeteners and beverage processing. Amidst her research experiences, from 2015 - 2016 she spent time fundraising, managing network relations, and event coordinating for Agapé France, a non-profit in Paris, France. Claire was responsible for coordinating PPIC events, communications, and web design, as well as managing member relations. Claire is currently working as Scientist II at General Mills.