REU Site: an Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates in Food Safety, Food Engineering, and Nutrition

Illinois Institute of Technology and the Institute for Food Safety and Health will host REU Site: An Interdisciplinary Research Experience for Undergraduates in Food Safety, Food Engineering, and Nutrition Monday, June 4 through Friday, August 10.

Are you an undergraduate student interested in exploring myriad opportunities in food safety, food engineering and nutrition? Food science is a STEM area which produces far fewer graduates than the available job opportunities. Would you like to undergo a rigorous mentoring and professional development training program along with a paid research internship to fine-tune your skill sets required to help you to become successful scientists, engineers, and entrepreneurs?. You will be trained by mentors from Illinois Institute of Technology and the Food and Drug Administration for a 10-week period. Selected students will receive a stipend of $500/week along with support for travel, accommodation, and meal plan via funding from the National Science Foundation (Award # 1757989).

The goals of the REU program are:

  • to provide hands on research experiences to undergraduate students in food safety, food engineering and nutrition to provide exposure to the field
  • to systematically train students in transforming basic research ideas into practical applications aimed at solving real world problems for improving the safety and nutrition of our food supply through interactive seminars and discussions
  • to systematically mentor undergraduate students to hone their research and professional skills through mentoring workshops, student presentations/discussions, interaction with graduate students, and K-12 outreach
  • to expose students to broader fields of food science to enhance their knowledge in this field (with special emphasis on food safety, food engineering, and nutrition) through seminars and tours
  • to train students on research and professional ethics

Projects (major focus of the project is given within the parentheses)

  • Energy-efficient design of sterilization of foods using pressure assisted thermal sterilization using COMSOL (modeling and simulation)
  • Low moisture food safety of legacy technologies (microbiology)
  • Shedding light on food safety, application of a novel pulsed light treatment for inactivation of pathogens (engineering and microbiology)
  • Physiological chemistry of plant bioactives in humans (nutrition)
  • Application of cold plasma for enhancing safety of sprout seeds (engineering and microbiology)
  • Understanding transport processes in food processing using COMSOL (modeling and simulation)
  • Affordable nutrition through kinetic hydroponics (engineering design and microbiology)
  • Repurposing food ingredients for controlling biofilms of food-borne pathogens (engineering and microbiology)

Requirements

  • Must be a U.S. citizen or green card holder currently enrolled in an undergraduate program in a science or engineering discipline within the United States
  • Must be available in Chicago for the entire duration of the REU Program (June 4 through August 10)
  • GPA ≥ 3.00 (with proper justification, a GPA of 2.75 may be considered)

Application procedure

Send the following documents to Illinois Tech School of Applied Technology Assistant Professor, Food Science and Nutrition, Kathiravan Krishnamurthy (kkrishn2@iit.edu) by 5 p.m. CST on Monday, April 30. Late applications will be considered if there are vacancies.

  • Completed REU application form
  • Transcripts (unofficial transcript is acceptable)
  • Resume
  • An essay detailing:
    • why are you interested in the REU program?
    • what are your goals in participating in this training program?
    • what are your career goals and how will this training program help you achieve them?
  • Names and emails of two people who will be writing recommendation letters for you (at least one from a faculty member; your recommenders should directly send the recommendation letter to kkrishn2@iit.edu by April 30)