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FSHN December 2021


Greetings Colleagues and Friends of FSHN

As Fall Semester 2021 comes to an end, I want to reach out to all and say how grateful I am to all who provide dedication and support to FSHN! It has been an exciting semester with the campus full of students and things returning to some sort of new normal. We anticipate all of our traditional in-person course offerings to be without restrictions in the spring term, as many are already. I continue to be impressed by all the great accomplishments of our faculty, staff, students and alumni. We are sharing some of those with you and welcome you to send updates to us to share in the future.

Wishing you all a relaxing holiday season and hoping that you are all well and able to enjoy time with friends and family!

Nicki Engeseth


Honors and Awards

  Yong-Su Jin

Dr. Yong-Su Jin named University Scholar

Congratulations to FSHN Professor Yong-Su Jin for being named a University Scholar – one of the highest awards on this campus for faculty excellence!

The University Scholars Program recognizes outstanding members of the faculty and provides each with a funding allocation to enhance their scholarly activities.  University Scholars awards are not made for a specific project or proposal; rather, they represent recognition of the recipient’s excellence and the University’s commitment to foster outstanding people and their work.

Professor Jin’s research is centered on metabolic engineering of microorganisms to produce biofuels and chemicals from renewable biomass.



Health Innovation Professors

FSHN Associate Professors Yanina Pepino and Zeynep Madak-Erdogan joined Carle Illinois College of Medicine with Health Innovation Professor appointments.



Research Highlights


Reducing salt in bread without sacrificing taste

In a new study, FSHN Professor Soo-Yeun Lee & graduate student Aubrey Dunteman explore ways to reduce sodium in bread without sacrificing taste & functionality.


Reduce food waste  

Reduce Food Waste & Improve Nutrition

Assistant Professor Melissa Pflugh Prescott plans to develop a new @NSF funded food education program that aims to improve healthy eating and reduce food waste for low-income families.


  Zeynep Madak-Erdogan

Postmenopausal women may benefit from estrogen compound research

A new estrogen compound could give postmenopausal women a safer alternative to hormone replacement therapy, says FSHN Associate Professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan.

Read more…

Apple chips  

Apple chips moisture analysis made easy with near-infrared spectroscopy

Ragya Kapoor, an FSHN graduate student at U of I, is lead author on the paper that was published in LWT – Food Science and Technology. Professor Hao Feng was a co-author.



PFAS exposure, high-fat diet drive prostate cells’ metabolism into pro-cancer state

A new #ILLINOIS study suggests that a combination of PFAS exposure and consuming a high-fat diet promotes tumor growth. The study was led by @FSHN_Illinois Professor Zeynep Madak-Erdogan and @CancerCenterIL scientists.



Extension Highlights


Small businesses, underserved communities get assist from Extension food safety expert

As a food safety expert, Dr. Pratik Banerjee's goal is to make a real impact in the evolving climate of food safety regulations and guidelines. 



Alumni In the News

  Shelia Downing

IOC Diploma in Sports Nutrition

On September 7, 2021, Sheila N. Downing, MS RDN LDN CSOWM (class of 2000) received a graduate diploma for Sports Nutrition from the International Olympics Committee (IOC) in Switzerland. After completing 2 years of online study and exams, she traveled to Lausanne, Switzerland, being the only American participant in the graduation ceremony. By obtaining this diploma, Sheila is eligible to provide nutritional counseling and coaching to the US Olympic Team.

Shelia is currently a Bariatric Dietitian at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Philadelphia, PA.

Congratulations to Shelia N. Downing (class of 2000) on this wonderful and unique achievement!

Lauren Moy  

Students prepare for medical careers through FSHN and the College of ACES

Lauren Moy, a Chicago native, graduated from FSHN in May 2021 and is now a first-year student at the University of Illinois Chicago College of Pharmacy.



Attention all Hospitality Management and Restaurant Management Alumni! 

We will be hosting a special Alumni Spice Box Meal (fundraising event)

on the evening of April 29, 2022.

Reach out to old classmates and head back to campus. Plan to join us for great food and a chance to reconnect with fellow hospitality alumni. Interested and want more information? Share your contact information at the following link for event updates and reservations


Please send alumni updates to: fshn-general@illinois.edu 

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