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Archive for the ‘Food’ Category

College faculty plan international collaborations at networking event in Cuba

While the future of US foreign policy remains unclear, the warming of relations with Cuba under the Obama administration produced an opportunity for US scientists and researchers to connect with their Cuban neighbors. Associate Professor Tania Huedo-Medina of the Department of Allied Health Sciences recognized the benefit of shared knowledge and the advancements that could be achieved through the formation of partnerships with Cuba. She created the Cuba Research Initiative to pair the University of Connecticut with several Cuban institutions to facilitate an exchange of ideas and establish joint research ventures. Multiple trips by UConn representatives have forged memoranda of understanding and these formalized relationships are now shaping into potential projects.

The UConn faculty at ICA

Ana Legrand, Guillermo Risatti, Steven Zinn and Hedley Freake (left to right) at the Institute of Animal Science.

College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources (CAHNR) faculty members spent a week in Cuba in January 2017 for a networking event to outline possible partnerships. Guillermo Risatti, an associate professor in the Department of Pathobiology and Veterinary Science, led the group. He was accompanied by Professor Ana Legrand of the Department of Plant Science and Landscape Architecture and UConn Extension, Professor Hedley Freake of the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Professor Steven Zinn, head of the Department of Animal Science. Aviana Rosen, former project coordinator for the Cuba Research Initiative, also traveled with the group. With a focus on agriculture and animal science, they met with representatives from the Institute of Animal Science (ICA) National Center for Agricultural Health (CENSA), National Institute for Agricultural Sciences (INCA) and the Agrarian University of Havana (UNAH). The group discussed specific areas in their respective disciplines that would benefit from collaboration as well as broad initiatives, including forming study abroad opportunities and assisting with the publication of journals to share US and Cuban research. The individual CAHNR departments and UConn Global Affairs provided funding for the trip. (more…)

UConn Science Salon examines food waste epidemic

ScienceSalonPanelists

Left to right: Panelists John Mandyck, Chelsea Connery, Cameron Faustman

According to the USDA, 40 percent of America’s food goes to waste. That’s 133 billion pounds of food annually, overloading landfills and increasing our carbon footprint. Food waste occurs in every phase of the food supply chain from agricultural production and post-harvest handling and storage, to processing, distribution and the consumer.

In an effort to increase awareness of food waste, the College offered several student seminars, including “Close to Home: Connecticut-Based Efforts to Reduce Food Waste”; “Sustainable Urbanization: The Future of Food”; “Getting Real About Food Waste: the British Perspective”, and the “Tasty Waste Lunch,” where UConn’s Dining Services served a meal produced from safe and nutritious food that would have otherwise been discarded. The Tasty Waste Lunch was well attended by more than 1200 students.

As a culminating event, the UConn Science Salon presented “Throwing It All Away: America’s Food Waste Epidemic,” on April 6 at the Spotlight Theatres in Hartford. The event was open to the public and featured several panelists including Interim Dean Cameron Faustman; Chelsea Connery, doctoral student in educational policy in the Neag School of Education; and John Mandyck, chief sustainability officer for United Technologies Corporation.

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Researcher studies dietary bioactive compounds and their impact on chronic disease

IMG_2176Vitamins and minerals are well known for their essential role in maintaining health and wellness. Still, there are other, often less recognized, food components that can also make important contributions. These other components, known as dietary bioactive compounds, are present in food in small quantities, but may be making a big impact. Christopher Blesso, assistant professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, is studying the effects of these previously overlooked substances on low-grade inflammation in certain chronic diseases, such as heart disease, obesity and diabetes.

In his studies of lipid metabolism, Blesso examines the body’s processing of fats, cholesterol, phospholipids and other molecules. He is interested in the impact the compounds can have on lipid metabolism and the low-grade inflammation that is characteristic of these disease states. The hope is that, one day, these compounds could be used therapeutically to reduce inflammation and improve the quality of life in patients suffering from low-grade inflammatory states. Blesso focuses on high-density lipoprotein (HDL) metabolism and cholesterol, as well as dietary phospholipids, which are molecules that provide animal and plant cell membranes with structure. (more…)

Famed chef to address May graduates

DAVID BOULEY PORTRAIT

David Bouley will be the CAHNR commencement speaker on May 6.

Award-winning New York chef and restaurateur, David Bouley, will speak at CAHNR’s May 6 undergraduate commencement ceremonies. Bouley’s rise to fame started near Storrs, where he was born and raised. “The values of New England became my early core of standards,” Bouley said in his acceptance letter to UConn’s President Susan Herbst.

Life on his grandparents’ farm and his French heritage gave Bouley an appreciation for healthful meals and fresh ingredients, which he retains to this day. The goals and results of his approach to food and health will figure prominently in his speech to about 1,000 CAHNR graduates and their guests.

In addition, Bouley will receive a doctorate of humane letters, honoris causa, from UConn at commencement. As an example of how Bouley meets the criteria of the honorary degree, Herbst said in her communication with him, “As a chef and catalyst for creative change in the kitchen, you have demonstrated the courage of your convictions to offer fresh foods that are culturally diverse and that can promote improved health.”

“The acceptance of an award like this from my hometown has deep confirming ties,” he said. This comment comes from a decorated man. Bouley’s restaurant ventures have garnered a Michelin Star, several James Beard Foundation awards, a 2015 best restaurant in (more…)

CAHNR in the news

newspaper readersSome of CAHNR’s people, places and programs made the news recently. The bolded topics are linked to initial media coverage. The roman text links go to additional information.

Washington Post. 4-14-17. Described the courtship and marriage of Courtney Gaine and Chris Cuddy. Gaine is an alumna of the Department of Allied Health Sciences.

UConn Today (video). 4-17-17. Posted a video of UConn student entrepreneurs, which included Christian Allyn, a horticulture and resource economics major. Allyn started a business removing invasive plants.

FOX61.com. 4-17-17. Interviewed Laura Cisneros and aired video (embedded second on the bolded linked page) of the summer Natural Resources Conservation Academy, as part of its annual Camp Week series. Cisneros, a visiting assistant professor in natural resources and the environment, described the academy as a summer program for Connecticut’s high school students with two parts. The on-campus segment teaches the scientific method as the students go outdoors and study the local environment and conservation topics. (more…)