Aspiring Food Scientists Visiting Campus

March 10, 2009 - Campus Bulletin

U of G is taking part in a first-of-its-kind internship that links up aboriginal high school students with university researchers who are conducting cutting-edge food and nutrition research.

The "Be a Food Researcher for a Week" program provides selected First Nations, M├ętis and Inuit Grade 11 and 12 students with one-week paid internships during their spring breaks that allow them to gain hands-on experience in food science labs across the country.

The program was organized by the Advanced Foods and Materials Network (AFMNet), a National Centres of Excellence (NCE) program that is located on the U of G campus.

Nationwide, 12 students were selected to participate following a competition. The students are from Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta, the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Two of the students, Cody Iahtail of Ottawa and Kekodonce Williams of Kahnawake, Que., are at U of G this week working with food science professors Rickey Yada and Alejandro Marangoni on various projects.

Yada is AFMNet's scientific director and the holder of the Canada Research Chair in Food Protein Structure and known for his research involving enzymes and potato varieties. Marangoni, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Food and Soft Materials Science, is an expert in the crystallization of edible fats and how fat crystal networks affect foods from chocolate to butter.

In addition to U of G, participating universities are the University of Toronto, University of Manitoba, University of Saskatchewan and University of British Columbia.

AFMNet was established in 2003 and includes Canadian researchers from biochemistry, engineering, health sciences, social sciences and law. It's part of the national NCE program, which fosters partnerships among university, government and public and private agencies, and was the first NCE in Canada to focus on food research.

There are 18 NCEs across Canada, overseen by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council and Industry Canada.

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