Former Staff

Abbie Krentz, M.S., Former Research Project Manager

Abbie Krentz

Abbie Krentz joined PPIC in May 2022 as a Researcher IV and moved into the role of Research Project Manager February 2023. As PPIC's Research Project Manager, she oversaw PPIC projects by drafting project budgets and timelines, coordinating research progress, and delivering project updates and final reports. She had collaborated with PPIC members and supporters to meet their ongoing research needs and goals. She would still lead various PPIC research projects as she continued to be passionate and curious for novel innovations. Previously, she completed her B.S. in Food Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2018. During her undergraduate studies, she participated in internship programs with Nestle Nutrition (Gerber), Dairiconcepts, and Lindt & Sprüngli. She completed her M.S. in Food Science and Technology at Ohio State University in 2021. Her research focused on the blending of milk caseins with pea protein and the upcycling of dairy industry by-products. Her most recent position was in product development and commercialization at Nature's Fynd, where she worked on novel fungi-based vegan products. In her free time, she enjoys exploring the twin cities, running in local races, and cheering on the Green Bay Packers. Abbie now works as R&D Scientist II at General Mills.

Samira Feyzi, Ph.D., Former Postdoctoral Researcher

Samira Feyzi

Dr. Samira Feyzi joined PPIC in Feb 2021 as a postdoctoral researcher. She was leading projects on protein structural and functional characterization as impacted by processing conditions as well as varietal differences. She completed her B.Sc. and M.Sc. in Food Science and Technology at the Ferdowsi University in Iran. For her masters thesis, Samira researched the optimization of protein extraction from fenugreek (Trigonella foenum-graecum) seed and investigated its functional, thermal and structural attributes. Samira completed her Ph.D. in Food Chemistry in January 2020 with a focus on the binding properties of whey proteins with safranal, assessed using various gas-chromatography, spectroscopic and molecular docking approaches. Samira completed part of her Ph.D. at University of Naples Federico II. She researched the effects of whey proteins and saliva on aroma release and perception, as well as the effect of WPI as fat replacer on aroma release and perception of saffron ice cream using various headspace gas-chromatography/mass spectrometry and gas-chromatography/olfactometry approaches. She has experience in teaching Food Chemistry and Food Engineering courses, and is interested in both teaching and research fields. Samira worked with Prof. Pam Ismail’s lab and PPIC, collaborating on different projects with master and Ph.D. students. Samira enjoys nature and traveling, and she spends her free time visiting different new places, working out, and studying.  Samira is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas.

Andressa Maria Suzin, B. Food Eng , Former PPIC Intern


Andressa joined the PPIC team in September 2022 as a PPIC Intern. She graduated with a Bachelor of Food Engineering from Federal University of Technology - Paraná, Brazil. During this time, Andressa was awarded a full scholarship program for partial studies abroad and was able to spend 16 months studying at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. Before beginning her Master’s degree in Food Science, Andressa worked for 2 years in the food industry as a quality control analyst and R&D assistant. She was pursuing her Master’s degree in Food Science at State University of Londrina - Paraná, Brazil and her thesis focuses on bioactive peptides from germinated and non-germinated bean flours. Andressa is now pursuing her PhD.

Ian Heieie, B.S. Undergraduate, Former Researcher Specialist, [email protected]

Ian Heieie

Ian Heieie joined PPIC in the fall of 2022 as a research specialist. He is currently pursuing a B.S. degree in Food Science at the University of Minnesota. Prior to undergraduate studies, Ian worked as a chef in Minneapolis. He completed an A.A.S. in Culinary Arts from Le Cordon Bleu in 2011 before working for James Beard Award-winning Paul Berglund at The Bachelor Farmer. While there, he learned the importance of working with local farmers and techniques for elevating humble ingredients. After working as the Executive Chef at Lutsen Resort on the North Shore of Lake Superior in 2017, Ian returned to Minneapolis to lead the kitchen at Young Joni in Northeast. He developed a dynamic kimchi program that paid homage to traditional Korean techniques and optimized the pizza dough program. Last Summer Ian worked as an intern for FoodOps, a consulting firm specializing in improving operations for small businesses. 

Ronit Mandal, Ph.D., Former Postdoctoral Researcher, [email protected]

Ronit Mandal

Dr. Ronit Mandal joined PPIC in September 2022 as a post-doctoral researcher. He had worked on a Microsoft-funded project on computational modeling of plant protein functionality. He completed his PhD degree at the University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada in July 2022, where he worked under the supervision of Dr. Anubhav Pratap-Singh on design, development, and validation of continuous-flow pulsed UV light systems for liquid food processing. Previously he did his bachelor’s degree in Dairy Technology from WBUAFS, India and his master’s in Food Process Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, India. Ronit’s master’s thesis was on design and fabrication of a solar energy driven milk pasteurization system. He has published more than twenty papers and book chapters based on his research, as well as in collaboration with industries and multidisciplinary research groups around the globe. His research interests lie at the intersection of food engineering, computational modeling, and food sustainability. He is interested in exploring the effects of non-thermal technologies like high pressure, pulsed UV, cold plasma on food preservation and functionality of food components. He has also worked on sustainable food processing on valorization of wastes from food industry waste streams. Dr. Mandal has delivered research presentations in various food science conferences and was a recipient of IFT Nonthermal Processing Division-EFFoST award in Oral competition in 2019. In his free time, he likes to go hiking, explore new places and calligraphy. 

Payal Karmakar, Ph.D., Former Researcher III, [email protected]

Payal Karmakar

Dr. Payal Karmakar had worked as PPIC Researcher III under Dr. Pam Ismail. She pursued her doctorate degree from National Dairy Research Institute, India where she worked on developing a milk protein-based Pickering emulsion for encapsulation of lutein and its application in yogurt. She did her bachelors degree in the field of Dairy Technology and her masters degree in Dairy Chemistry from West Bengal University of Animal and Fishery Sciences, India. For her masters program, she worked on the functionalities of nano zinc fortified yogurt and has published a research paper based on the same. Her field of research interest includes chemistry of milk proteins and polysaccharides, their interactions, nanotechnology and food fortification. Her hobby is singing and she is a trained classical singer.

Madhvi Singh, B.S., B.Tech & M.Tech, Former Researcher II, [email protected]


Madhvi Singh joined the Plant Protein Innovation Center in June 2022 as Researcher II to work on various industry-related projects. Her research was conducted in collaboration with Prof. B. Pam Ismail and Prof. Gary Reineccius. She earned an Integrated M.Tech in Food Engineering & Technology from Tezpur Central University, Assam, India. She also holds a Bachelor's degree in Life Sciences from the University of  Delhi, India. While at the Institute of Chemical Technology in Mumbai, India, Madhvi worked on a solar conductor dryer to extend the shelf life of various fruits and vegetables. In Ludhiana, India, she worked as a Young Professional II at ICAR-CIPHET on various post-harvest machines such as sugar cane crushers, rice dehuskers, and oil expellers. Madhvi served as an Assistant Professor at AKS University in Madhya Pradesh, India. Her master's thesis focused on the development and characterization of physically modified rice noodles encapsulated with flaxseed oil. She received the Best PG thesis award by RASSA at the national seminar organized by SKUAST, Jammu, India. In her spare time, she enjoys exploring various places. She also enjoys reading and watching movies.

Charu Gupta, MS Food Science & Technology, Former 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, Former 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. After PPIC, Sun worked for a year in R&D for a plant-based food company in Canada. He is now an Assistant Professor at the University of Arkansas.

Misen Luu, M.S., Former 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, Former 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, Former 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.