By RUTH BORGER
LAKE ALFRED, Fla. – She’s early in her career, but Yu Wang, a University of Florida food scientist, is making great strides in her research. Recognizing Wang’s work, the Agricultural and Food Chemistry division (AGFD) of the American Chemical Society (ACS) recently named her a fellow. Wang, a food chemist with the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Citrus Research and Education Center, may be the first assistant professor in the division’s history to receive this prestigious award.
The award is presented to scientists who have made significant contributions in the areas of agriculture and food chemistry. Wang may be one of the only fellow recipients who have received the award so early in their career and before they have earned tenure from their institution. This award will be officially announced at the virtual ACS meeting late in August.
“I joined the AGFD division when I was a Ph.D. student. Back then I was always wondering if someday I could receive the fellow award from the division as other scientists did,” said Wang.
“To be recognized as a fellow so early in her career is a testament to Yu Wang’s commitment and contributions to the body of scientific knowledge,” said Michael Rogers, director of the UF/IFAS Citrus Research and Education Center. “She is certainly creating a national reputation for excellence in the field.”
Wang, a flavor chemist, earned degrees from Hefei University of Technology, Louisiana State University and Rutgers, and also worked as a post-doctoral researcher at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She worked as a flavor chemist at Mars Chocolate before coming to UF to work with citrus.
“If you want to study flavor, you want to study citrus flavor,” noted Wang. Citrus is one of the most widely studied flavors and scents and used in many industries such as food and beverage, household products and perfume. Discoveries made in citrus flavor and scent research reach consumers around the world.
The Agriculture and Food Chemistry division of the ACS focuses on agriculture, renewable resources, food composition, food quality, food processing, nutrition, biochemistry, food safety, food flavor, biotechnology, natural products, pharmaceuticals, green products, chemical raw materials and feedstocks, bioenergy, and sustainability. Objectives of the division are to encourage the advancement and understanding of agricultural and food chemistry.
The mission of the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) is to develop knowledge relevant to agricultural, human and natural resources and to make that knowledge available to sustain and enhance the quality of human life. With more than a dozen research facilities, 67 county Extension offices, and award-winning students and faculty in the UF College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, UF/IFAS brings science-based solutions to the state’s agricultural and natural resources industries, and all Florida residents.