This area focuses on creating foods, exploring diets, and identifying food and nutrition patterns for optimal health, including gastrointestinal health, weight management, cancer prevention, and metabolic disease prevention.

Faculty researching this area

Nicki Engeseth

Professor; Department Head

Food Chemistry: impact of environmental growing conditions, processing and storage on oilseed and fruit and vegetable quality and nutritional value, with emphasis on enzymatic action, lipids and natural antioxidants.

Nicki's Illinois Experts Research Output

Jaume Amengual

Assistant Professor

Nutrition and cardiovascular disease: investigates the mechanisms of how carotenoids, lipids, and their metabolites interact to mediate atherosclerosis; studies structure and function of vitamin A to mitigate metabolic disease progression, primarily cardiovascular disease.

Jaume's Illinois Experts Research Output

Elvira de Mejia


Bioactive peptides and proteins in foods with health benefits focusing on reduction of inflammation, markers of type-2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular risk; functional properties of food components especially flavonoids in ethnic teas, herbs and berries.

Elvira's Illinois Experts Research Output

Sharon Donovan


Pediatric Nutrition: human milk and neonatal intestinal development. Development of the microbiome and host-microbe interactions. Childhood obesity prevention. Determinants of picky eating and strategies to develop healthy eating habits.

Sharon's Illinois Experts Research Output

John Erdman, Jr.

Professor Emeritus

Bioactive Food Components and Carotenoids: dietary and non-dietary factors affecting absorption, utilization, and bioavailability of carotenoids; carotenoids and prostate cancer; soy and health; lutein and brain function.

John's Illinois Experts Research Output

William G. Helferich


Nutritional toxicology: food safey and toxicology; effect of natural chemicals present in foods on chronic diseases such as breast cancer.

William's Illinois Experts Research Output

Hannah D. Holscher

Associate Professor

Nutrition and the microbiome: dietary manipulation of the microbiome for disease prevention and treatment; clinical nutrition; host-microbe interactions; big data and bioinformatics. 

Hannah's Illinois Experts Research Output

Elizabeth Jeffery

Professor Emerita

Nutritional toxicology and functional foods: anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory effects of non-nutritive dietary components, including isothiocyanates and indoles from broccoli.

Elizabeth's Illinois Experts Research Output

Yong-Su Jin


Microbial Genomics: microbial bioconversion of biomass into value-added products, microbial genomics for linking genotypes and beneficial phenotypes. 

Yong-Su's Illinois Experts Research Output

Michael Miller


Food microbiology: functional genomics of lactic acid bacteria (LAB); food and industrial fermentations; gastrointestinal microbiology; food microbiology and safety.

Michael's Illinois Experts Research Output

Manabu Nakamura

Associate Professor

Biochemical and Molecular Nutrition: function and metabolism of essential fatty acids in reproduction, inflammation and chronic diseases; transcriptional regulation of macronutrient metabolism; dietary weight loss and prevention of obesity.

Manabu's Illinois Experts Research Output

Shelly Nickols-Richardson


Determinants of obesity prevention and body weight regulation across the life span to lower the burden of chronic diseases, ranging from metabolic syndrome to osteoporosis. Impact of weight loss, weight loss diets and restrained eating on body composition and biomarkers of health.

Shelly's Illinois Experts Research Output

Yuan-Xiang Pan

Associate Professor

Nutrigenomics and epigenetics: nutrient-gene interaction and chronic diseases.

Yuan-Xiang's Illinois Experts Research Output

Yanina Pepino

Associate Professor

Individual differences in taste perception: food pleasure and reward pathways in lean versus obese individuals; perception of fat in foods; impact of surgical weight loss on taste perception and eating behavior; effect of non-caloric sweeteners on taste preference and glucose homeostasis. 

Yanina's Illinois Experts Research Output

Pawan Takhar


Porous media modeling of fluid and species transport in biomaterials; biopolymer thermomechanics; transport processes such as frying, drying and sorption; biopolymer expansion during extrusion; modeling at the nanoscale; continuum thermodynamics based fluid-biopolymer interactions; predicting quality changes in foods during processing.

Pawan's Illinois Experts Research Output