Food Science Graduate Program at the University of Guelph

Food Science Graduate Program at the University of Guelph

October 13, 2019 0 By Stanley Isaacs


[music] If you are interested in
a career in the food industry you have a
wide range of career choices both
domestically and internationally and with great long-term
securities. Food is not likely to
go out of fashion. Hi my name is
Dr. Paul Spagnuolo and I’m a faculty
member in the Department of
Food Science. My research focuses
on the ability of nutraceuticals,
food-derived bioactive molecules, to kill
cancer cells. My interest is in the
therapeutic potential of these compounds
as adjuvants to cancer therapy with
the overall goal of translating this
knowledge into treatment protocols
to improve the lives of all Canadians. I’d like to tell you about
the graduate program in the Department
of Food Science and some of the
very interesting work that our graduate
students are doing. The University of Guelph
Food Science program is one of the best
in the country if not the whole world. It’s a great way to kind
of further understand specific areas to know
what you want to go into. We have a wealth
of experience and I think that really
says volumes in terms of trying to
attract people into our program. It adds a little more
motivation when you know what you’re
doing has a direct impact
to consumers. A graduate degree in
Food Science will open the door to careers
in industry, government and academia, such as food product development,
management of food production or
processing facilities, food engineering to
improve the efficiency of production and
processing, or packaging research
and innovative food retailing, just to
name a few. They offer a lot more
choices with their labs and a lot more specific
courses on different food products like the
dairy processing course or the meat and poultry
processing course. It’s hard to find those
courses at any other university. You really get into
a lot more of the critical thinking and
problem-solving that you’re required
to do in everyday on the job scenarios. I like how the
program really tailors to the expectations
of industry. It really sets you up
for skills that the industry would want
you to have. It has a very important
balance between academics as
well as research. Most universities
haven’t struck this balance that the
University of Guelph has. But I really feel
like in terms of project management,
presentation skills, communication skills
and even developing a lot of mindfulness
and wisdom I think the
graduate program is really great for
developing a lot of those skills that
you’re going to need everyday when
you go on the job. Our program at
Guelph is firmly rooted in practicality. We have strong and
enduring links with a wide range of food
producers and retailers. The majority of our
research projects address the practical
questions of how we make food better,
healthier, more available and
safer to a wide range of markets around
the world. Almost all of our
ongoing research projects are in
partnership with industry or government. I study certain molds and
fungi that produce toxins as they grow
in food. Right now I’m researching
the reduction of E. coli 0157:H7 and
Salmonella enteritidis in dry fermented
sausages. My research is
focused on studying microbial
ecosystems in foods such as milk and
cheese and their impact on our
gut microbiota. Well there’s a connection
between the gut and the brain where there’s transmissions that happen and so there’s
possibilities that mood is affected by the
gut and so that’s what sparked my interest
and it’s just amazing how changes in your
diet can affect your mental state and also
your physical health. My research will
go directly to the Government of Canada,
Health Canada and in that it will help
them define regulations. Currently a large number
of the toxins I study are unregulated entirely. On the research side of
it I really enjoyed my studies as I
produced the sausages myself in the pilot plant
at Agriculture Canada and got to watch the
whole process and do the whole process of
having the raw product and fermenting and
drying the sausages. I met Gisele as I was
studying in my undergrad and she had a lot of
work in gut microbiota and that sort of captured
my attention and her research incorporated
what I was learning in nutrition
and made it so it was in a
practical application. I’ve been studying apple
and tomato products so commercial juices,
sauces, purees and looking for the presence
of three different toxins in them that are produced
by molds and fungi. I looked at different fat
contents and how that affected the inactivation
of E. coli and Salmonella then I also
looked at different caliber sizes so how
the diameter of the sausage affected the
inactivation of E. coli and Salmonella. Our program is
strengthened by our many interactions with
complementary disciplines here at Guelph such as
toxicology, microbiology, nutrition, crop science
and business. Students in our Food
Science graduate programs often adapt
their programs to include one or more
of these related disciplines to meet their
individual career goals. The master’s program
is flexible. Master’s students are
required to take a minimum of four courses, attend department
research seminars and conduct research in
one of the three main areas of food science:
food chemistry, food processing or
food microbiology. All students are required
to write and defend a thesis. Admission to our PhD
program usually requires completion of a
research-based master’s degree. The PhD is primarily a
research degree but students are expected
to take at least two advanced courses
in food chemistry, food microbiology or
food processing. The faculty here
is world-class. They’re leading experts
in their fields and so for me it was an
obvious decision. A lot of our professors
are really at the top players in their
respective fields, as well where
we’re always evolving and changing and
really try to stay on top of what’s going
on in industry. Faculty are very much
encouraged to be good academics,
good teachers which is extremely important for
educating the next generation,
but also we’re encouraged to be very
strong researchers. So this balance allows
us a very unique opportunity to have
access to very strong students but
also those very strong students have
then access to very strong professors and
that’s not always the case in other
academic environments. So that’s really what
makes Guelph and the Guelph Food Science program very
unique is these students will have access to some of
the most recognized professors in Food Science
in the entire world. If you’re looking for a
graduate program in Food Science, the
University of Guelph is the perfect
place for you. For more information
about the Food Science graduate programs
please visit us online. [music]