Get experience conducting cutting-edge research in a variety of FSHN research laboratories, working with cells, food, plants, animals, and humans. Your advisor can help you find departmental and college level research opportunities.

FSHN Undergraduate Research Opportunities

Students are encouraged to include the following when inquiring about undergraduate research opportunities:

  1. when they are interested in doing the research (i.e. – current semester, summer, etc.)
  2. undergraduate major
  3. what year in school they are
  4. previous experiences
  5. availability
  6. contact information

Additionally, faculty members receive a large volume of e-mails. Students are encouraged to follow-up on first messages and inquire with faculty members again if they do not receive a reply. They may simply have not had an opportunity to respond to the initial message.

This is not an exhaustive list of opportunities. If you find a research area you are interested in working, do not hesitate to contact the faculty.

Explore Faculty Research Areas

Pratik Banerjee 

Food Safety and Microbiology

Dr. Banerjee’s laboratory investigates how different environmental sources contribute to the contamination and spread of food commodities. We use molecular methods (such as PCR and qPCR) to rapidly detect pathogenic microorganisms and their genes (conferring virulence or resistance to antimicrobials) or toxins. We are also developing biosensors for the rapid detection of these pathogens. We have ongoing research projects and looking to recruit undergraduate students interested in gaining basic and advanced molecular microbiology laboratory skills and related data analysis, bioinformatics, microbiome/metagenomics, and next-generation sequencing. The typical time commitment for these projects is 4-8 h/week, with interest for more than one semester (including summer). 

Hong Chen 

Molecular Nutrition, Nutrient-gene Interaction

The Chen lab focuses on understanding how foods/nutrients are sensed by cellular metabolic, signaling, and epigenetic pathways and how these responses shape our body during early development, disease development, and aging. Specific training includes analysis of gene expression, histological imaging and analysis, and big data analysis of various tissues and cells in animal models, human specimens, and cell cultures. Currently accepting undergraduate students.

Braulio Macias-Rodriguez

Food Biophysical Chemistry

Professor Macias-Rodriguez actively seeks undergraduate students interested in exploring the science of advanced food materials. Some of the ongoing projects include:

  1. Creating and studying multicomponent gels that withstand melting, such as heat-resistant chocolate.
  2. Investigating fibrillar hydrogels and oleogels to structure proteins and lipids, leading to new applications in spreads, margarines, cheese, and burgers.
  3. Developing techniques and protocols for structural analysis using confocal microscopy, ultra-small angle x-ray scattering, direct ink writing to understand multicomponent gel assembly at scales ranging from nanoscopic to macroscopic.

Students from food science, material science, chemical/biomolecular engineering sciences, chemistry, physics with interest in soft materials are welcome to contact the PI. Potential candidates must be committed to work for 8 hrs per week, for more than one semester. For the summer 2024, we are recruiting candidates who can work for 20 h a week

Manabu Nakamura 

Clinical and Community Nutrition

Dr. Nakamura’s lab has been developing and testing a novel dietary weight loss program, EMPOWER to effectively treat obesity and associated comorbidities. Several undergraduate students have been involved with various aspects of ongoing projects. Typically, a commitment of 3-6 hours per week for 2 years is expected. One or two students will be considered for Spring and Summer 2023”


Oguz Kaan Ozturk

Food Processing/Food Engineering 

Dr. Ozturk’s interdisciplinary research work is dedicated to using novel food processing technologies to improve the functional properties of food ingredients and byproducts to be used in new processes and formulations. We will provide training opportunities in engineering, materials science, and chemistry in the course of participating in specific projects relevant to the above missions and topics. We are considering students who will be committed to working for at least 8 hours per week, for at least two semesters. Please send your resume to Dr. Ozturk for inquiries if you are interested in his research area. Interview is required. 

M. Yanina Pepino

Ingestive Behavior

Research in Dr. Pepino laboratory focuses on the analysis of individual differences in human taste perception and preferences, with an emphasis on sensory control of food and alcohol consumption. Dr Pepino's overall goal is to establish a research program that integrates analyses of taste perception with nutrient metabolism and the impact of dietary choices on health and disease. By using a combination of psychometrically sound validated sensory assessment methods, and metabolic research methods, we are currently studying: a) the effects of bariatric surgery-induced weight loss on flavor perception, eating behavior and alcohol drinking; b) the effects of non-nutritive sweeteners on taste preferences and glucose homeostasis; c) fat taste perception; and d) taste dysfunction in cancer survivors. We are considering accepting students who will be committed to work for at least 10 hrs. per week, for at least two years. Interview and complete biosafety training are required.


Matthew Stasiewicz

Food Microbiology, Food Safety

Dr. Stasiewicz’s laboratory applies engineering and data analytic approaches to advance food safety microbiology.  Undergraduates will have the opportunity to participate in the full research process from hypothesis design, data collection, analysis, and writing.  Most likely undergraduates will be paired with a graduate student supervisor who will first train them to assist them in data collection, followed by mentoring them though a self-contained project.  Find current projects and students at  Considering undergraduates with at least 2 blocks of 3+ h time each week, and interest in work for > 1 semester. Opportunities for both microbiology benchwork and data analytics

Yi-Cheng Wang

Food Safety and Engineering

Research in Dr. Wang’s laboratory focuses on developing engineering approaches to improving food quality and safety, mostly involving nanotechnology, bio-sensing, and smart packaging. We will provide students with training opportunities in engineering, chemistry, materials science, and microbiology in the course of participating in specific projects relevant to the above topics. Interested students should send their resumes when inquiring. Interview and complete biosafety training are required. We are currently accepting students who will be committed to work for at least 8 hours per week, for at least one semester.


Related resources

Learn about research opportunities available to undergraduate students in the FSHN department, and find a laboratory that fits a student’s interests and education goals. Guest faculty members present research opportunities in their laboratory and then give a laboratory tour for students to learn more about the research activities there. Approved for S/U grading only. Offered in the spring semester.

ACES Undergraduate Research Scholarship Program

A $500 scholarship plus up to $1,000 for research expenses. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis