Welcome to the UF Food Science and Human Nutrition Department, 2023 Edition!

Three people surrounding a table outside with ice cream at Food Week 2022 | Food Science and Human Nutrition UF/IFAS Welcome back to the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department at the University of Florida for the 2023-2024 academic year! We hope you had a fun and productive summer, and we are excited to have you join us for another year of excellence in research, academics, special events, and more. In this post, learn about our department’s latest additions, events, and programs.

New Faces in Food Science and Human Nutrition

We are happy to welcome two new members of the FSHN Department: Dr. Bin Liu and Chelsea Patrick. Discover more about the new additions to our family below.

Dr. Bin Liu:

Bin Liu wearing a blue shirt and smiling | Food Science and Human Nutrition UF/IFASIn August 2023, I will be commencing my journey with the UF FSHN Department. Prior to this, I served as an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences at Mississippi State University, where I ran a cardiac physiology lab.

My primary research interests revolve around comprehending the molecular mechanisms responsible for calcium-dependent cardiac dysfunctions and developing innovative mechanism-based therapeutics. Calcium plays a crucial role in cardiac contraction, governing both its strength and heart rhythm. The intricate regulation of calcium signaling in cardiac muscle cells means that any dysregulation can directly cause or contribute to various cardiac dysfunctions, including both genetic and metabolic heart diseases.

In my current lab, we have developed novel genetic or diet-based mouse models to investigate the mechanisms of heart disease. To achieve this, we employ diverse approaches, including protein biochemistry, molecular biology, cellular biology, and in vivo physiology. A key question that particularly intrigues us is the reason behind the diverse pathophenotypes observed in heart diseases. We are thrilled to have discovered compelling evidence suggesting that mitochondria may play a significant role in this variability.

We are currently investigating the calcium-dependent crosstalk between the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR), the intracellular calcium store, and mitochondria, and how this crosstalk impacts disease phenotype in different heart disease settings. Other ongoing projects in my group include (1) delving into the molecular mechanisms underlying metabolic heart diseases, including prediabetes and diabetes; (2) exploring the impact of nutrition and diet on cardiac physiology and pathophysiology; and (3) identifying new epigenetic regulators of cardiac contractile function and/or heart rhythm.

Chelsea Patrick:

Chelsea Patrick wearing a blue and white striped shirt and smiling Bin Liu wearing a blue shirt and smiling | Food Science and Human Nutrition UF/IFASI am thrilled to be working as an Academic Program Specialist in the FSHN Student Services Office! In this role, I support incoming graduate students, support program advisors, recruit prospective graduate and undergraduate students to the FSHN programs, and cultivate/develop community outreach initiatives for the department.

I’m originally from Oxford, NC. I have a bachelor’s degree in history and secondary education from Appalachian State University in Boone, NC, and a master’s degree in international education from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in Chapel Hill, NC. I started my career in the classroom as a high school social studies teacher and then as an ESL teacher in South Korea. After working and traveling abroad, I transitioned to working in student support services and moved to Gainesville in 2018.

Throughout my career, I have primarily engaged with students from disadvantaged backgrounds, first-generation students, and non-traditional students. My focus is on providing the necessary resources and support so that all students can succeed. I have worked with students of all ages, kindergarten through college, as well as retirees!

Our Department Chair Passes the Baton

After more than ten years of serving as the department chair, Dr. Sue Percival stepped down in August. Under her leadership, the department enjoyed improved laboratories and pilot plant facilities, as well as increased online class enrollment. Thanks to Dr. Percival for her years of service, and we wish her well on the next stage of her journey!

We welcome Dr. Renée Goodrich as the new department chair, effective September 8th. Dr. Goodrich is an alumna of the FSHN Department, earning her Ph.D. in 1996. She joined the department in 1998 and is a professor of food science specializing in food safety and processing. Recently, she served as an associate chair of the department. Congratulations to Dr. Goodrich!

Second Annual Session of the Taste x UF Experiential Program Supports Student Entrepreneurship

From July 17-19, students from the Taste of Immokalee program–a leadership program that teaches youth from underserved communities about entrepreneurial skills–visited the UF campus for an engaging and unique learning experience. Many of the students are interested in pursuing degrees in health, food science, law, or business, making the Taste X UF Experiential Program an invaluable experience. During the program, the FSHN Department helped organize workshops, information sessions with campus organizations and student resources, and visits to UF departments.

Taste of Immokalee students standing outside doing the gator chomp | Food Science and Human Nutrition UF/IFAS
Taste of Immokalee students and volunteers Charles Overdevest and Yvette Zerry do the gator chomp. Header caption: Taste of Immokalee students hang out.
Two students and teacher stand in kitchen frying round doughnuts | Food Science and Human Nutrition UF/IFAS
Taste of Immokalee students cook Mermaid doughnuts (made with purple sweet potatoes) with FSHN lab manager Sharyn Passeretti.

Workshops and experiences included:

  • Participating in a coffee roasting demonstration with Dr. Andrew MacIntosh;
  • Learning about and participating in a sensory evaluation taste panel with Dr. Charles Sims, taste-testing different types of orange juice;
  • Making Mermaid Donuts (created with purple sweet potatoes) with Sharyn Passeretti, the lab manager of FSHN’s pilot test kitchen;
  • Meeting with the owner and operator of local business Flavorful while learning about product development and the experience of creating, owning, and operating a business.

The students also had the opportunity to discover the CALS Food & Resource Economics Department, the Agricultural and Biological Engineering Dept, and MANNRS, as well as meet with individuals in the College of Engineering. Students who volunteered during the program include Charles Overdevest (sophomore, nutritional sciences), Matias Yepez (senior, food science), Yanan Lin (senior, food science), and Yvette Zerry (senior, chemistry).

Read more about the program here, and support these exceptional underserved students by giving here.

Mark Your Calendars for Food Week 2023

We are excited to welcome you to Food Week 2023! This annual event showcases the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department programs, innovative research, and associated professional opportunities. During this event, we provide opportunities to explore majors in DieteticsFood Science, and Nutritional Sciences. Join us to sample free foods and beverages while learning about the science behind them. You will also enjoy social events and a student organization fair, and you’ll even have the chance to show off your culinary skills in our annual Master Chef competition.

Three student and professor gatehr around a large coffee-roasting machine during Food Week 2022.
Dr. Andrew MacIntosh demonstrates coffee roasting during the 2022 FSHN Food Week Kick-Off celebration. Profile caption: Ice cream social during Food Week 2022.
Students gather around a table with vegetables during Food Week 2022.
Farm picnic during Food Week 2022.

Highlights of Food Week include:

  • Learning all about coffee at our coffee roasting demonstration and free coffee bar;
  • Discovering the secrets of kombucha brewing with free samples;
  • Tasting Gator Bubbly, a refreshing drink;
  • Joining a food panel;
  • Participating in an FSHN research symposium with posters displaying student projects;
  • Joining Donut University with Sharyn Passeretti to learn how to make a variety of donuts (limited seating);
  • Meeting new friends at our ice cream social;
  • Finding your next passion at the student organization fair.

Check out the Food Week schedule and follow our events at @UF_FSHN #FoodWeek2023 #FoodScience #Dietetics #NutritionalSciences #JOBS

What are you most looking forward to this year? Comment below!

Jessie Erwin, Nutrition Communications Consultant for the UF/IFAS FSHN department.
Posted: August 23, 2023

Category: Food Science & Human Nutrition
Tags: Chelsea Patrick, Dietetics Major, Dr. Bin Liu, Dr. Renee Goodrich, Dr. Susan Percival, Food Science, Food Science And Human Nutrition, Food Week, Food Week 2023, FSHN Food Week, Major, Nutritional Sciences Major, Taste Of Immokalee, Taste X UF, Taste X UF Experiential Program, UF/FSHN Food Week, UF/IFAS Food Week

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