Two FST faculty were recognized during this year’s CFAES Virtual Awards Ceremony. The Office for Research and Graduate Education annually awards CFAES scientists who have made outstanding research contribution in the advancement of sciences and technologies relating to food, agriculture, family, and /or the environment. Congratulations to 2020 Senior Faculty Award recipient Dr. Monica Giusti and 2020 Innovator of the Year Award recipient Dr. Luis Rodriguez-Saona.
Distinguished Senior Faculty Research Award - Monica Giusti
Dr. Monica Giusti is recognized by the scientific community and the food industry for her valuable contributions to the field of plant polyphenol chemistry. She has been remarkably successful at performing basic science and applying it to practical, industrial applications with a creative and innovative approach.
Her research has focused on the study of polyphenolics, potent antioxidants abundant in fruits and vegetables, believed to contribute to the ability of fruits and vegetables to fight chronic diseases. Giusti is also making significant contributions in aiding food companies’ transition from the use of artificial colorants to natural alternatives. Among polyphenols, abundant in plants, anthocyanins are unique due to their ability to provide color, making them suitable alternative to synthetic food dyes.
Innovator of the Year – Luis Rodriguez-Saona
Professor Luis Rodriguez-Saona’s creative work focuses on the field of handheld sensors based on vibrational spectroscopy to support quality, nutritional, and safety monitoring of food and agricultural products. Through collaborations with leading optical sensing companies, his molecular vibrational program has pioneered the application of portable and micro-devices combined with chemometrics for rapid detection and characterization of important quality traits and potential food contaminants. This unique blend of basic and applied research with technology commercialization has resulted in strong collaborations and financial support from several major food companies the development of rapid and reliable technology to screen key quality traits and to authenticate their ingredients to prevent potential fraud.