Dr. Leonard Williams, director of the N.C. A&T Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT), has written seven chapters for the book series “Recent Progress in Medicinal Plants” from Studium Press.
He has written the chapters on Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes for the “Metabolic Disorders” volumes of the series. Five of the chapters were written in collaboration with Dr. Yogini Jaiswal Yerke, a postdoctoral fellow at the CEPHT. Dr. Mohd. Farooq Shaikh from the Jeffrey Cheah School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Monash University, Malaysia, co-authored two of the chapters. Continue reading Williams writes chapters on diabetes for book series→
A pair of CAES researchers recently claimed noteworthy prizes in the inaugural Innovation for Impact Grand Prize, co-sponsored by SoBran Bioscience and the Piedmont Triad Office of the North Carolina Biotechnology Center.
Dr. Shengmin Sang, associate professor and a lead scientist at the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, claimed the top prize of $11,000 for his research on ginger’s ability to mitigate the abrasive properties of aspirin and increase its efficacy. His patented ginger compound may also be effective in preventing colon and other cancers.
The bulk of the award will be used to conduct a pre-clinical research study, and $1,000 in cash is awarded directly to the scientist. Sang’s work emerged from the research of among 17 entrants, whose application mission was to demonstrate how their research would “heal, fuel or feed the world in the future.”
Four other scientists from North Carolina universities were also awarded prizes of $500 each, including Dr. Hye Won Kang, assistant research professor of family and consumer sciences. Kang is researching ways to reduce obesity i in humans. She is using the gut bacterium Akkermansia muciniphila to reduce adipose or fat deposits by increasing the metabolic activity of brown adipose tissue. Kang’s lab is testing the effect of Akkermansia muciniphila in mice to evaluate its potential effectiveness for helping decrease and prevent human obesity.
Dr. Leonard Williams, director of the N.C. A&T Center for Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT), has been appointed to the USDA’s Agricultural Technical Advisory Committee for Trade by the U.S. Secretary of Agriculture.
During his four-year term, Williams will advise the secretary and U.S. trade representatives on issues that affect both foreign and domestic policy, and production, in the area of processed foods. The panel is composed of 36 members. Williams’s term started Jan. 15.
“I’m excited,” Williams says. “This appointment gives the CAES and A&T a way to have a voice from an international perspective.”
CEPHT fosters interdisciplinary research after food has been harvested, including developing and testing functional foods, improving processes to extend the shelf life and control spoilage of foodborne pathogens, and evaluating and modeling consumer acceptance of food products, along with other aspects of food production technologies.
A new book on chromatography, co-authored by Dr. Leonard Williams, director of the N.C. A&T Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT), has just published.
Written specifically with students in mind, “Theory and Practice of Chromatographic Techniques” brings fresh understanding to a century-old procedure. Chromatography is a laboratory method for separating and identifying the elements of a compound by passing it through another medium. First developed in 1900, it is broadly used in pharmaceutical research, but also in such disciplines as food science, forensics, biotechnology and chemistry.
The book is a collaboration between Williams, Dr. Yogini Jaiswal, a post-doctoral researcher working with Williams at CEPHT; and Dr. Sanjay Bari of North Maharahstra University in India. It will be available in paperback and online from PharmaMed Press/BSP Books.
Despite its familiarity to science students and researchers, the chromatography technique can use fresh explanation, Williams says.
“The basic fundamentals of chromatography don’t change, but the technology does,” Williams says. “We wanted to give students a better understanding of the theory and the practical methods, and make it easier for them to understand the new technologies.”
The subject is particularly important to students in countries where technology may lag behind the U.S. Jaiswal, one of the book’s co-authors, earned her degrees from universities in India.
“Dr. Jaiswal played an integral part in writing this book,” Williams said. “She knows the need firsthand, and I was glad to give her the autonomy to write it.”
Dr. Leonard L. Williams has been named director of the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT), at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, effective December 1.
Most recently, Williams served as interim director, professor of food sciences, and lead scientist for food safety and microbiology for CEPHT, which is administered by the School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences and is a key partner at the North Carolina Research Campus. The Center extends N.C. A&T’s land-grant mission of learning, outreach and research to improve education, the state’s economy and human health. Its focus areas are food safety, functional foods, food engineering and nutritional immunology.
Williams obtained his Ph.D. in food science specializing in microbiology from Alabama A&M University in 2000. From 2000-2008, he served as assistant professor and associate professor of food microbiology and immunochemistry in A&M’s Department of Food and Animal Sciences. He joined the faculty of N.C. A&T in 2008 as lead scientist for food safety and microbiology at CEPHT. In addition to his doctorate in food science, Williams also holds an MBA from Wake Forest University which he earned earlier this year, and also has a master’s in animal health sciences from A&T.
The work (and faces) of several members of the SAES Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) faculty at the NC Research campus have prominent positioning in a new publication, Bioactive Magazine, that the NC Research Campus launched in February. A leadoff article on ginger, "Steps Toward Phytochemically-based Cancer, Anemia Treatments," covers some recent research findings by Dr. Shengmin Sang, associate professor and functional food lead scientist at the CEPHT. Work by Sang and Dr. Guibing Chen, an assistant professor and lead scientist for food processing and engineering at the CEPHT, is discussed in an article on evidence that whole grain consumption reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart disease and some types of cancer. Dr. Rishipal Bansode, a research associate at the CEPHT, is investigating potential for using peanut byproducts as dietary supplements that lower obesity, and his work is cited in a Bioactive article that looks into several current food byproducts that may someday soon add nutritional value to other foods. Dr. Leonard Williams, the CEPHT director, is recommended by Bioactive as a source for expertise that can boost any organization’s compliance capabilities with the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act.
Dr. Rishipal Bansode, a research associate at the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) was interviewed by News 14 Carolina’s Charlotte affiliate for a news segment that ran in early December detailing how parts of peanut shells and skins that usually end up in landfills might just be foundation for dietary supplements that "could play a dramatic role in lowering obesity nationwide." Bansode’s research team has found that the polyphenols in peanut skin extracts reduce cholesterol, triglycerides and "belly fat by nearly a third."
Two members of the faculty at the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis were part of a multidisciplinary group of investigators who presented findings on research into “Evaluating Bioactive Food Components [BFCs] in Obesity and Cancer Prevention” at a conference coordinated by the University of Alabama Birmingham’s Nutrition Obesity Research Center. Dr. Leonard Williams, associate professor and interim director of the CEPHT, covered his research into “The effect of BFCs on the survival and virulence of food-borne pathogens.” Dr. Shengmin Sang, lead scientist for functional foods at the CEPHT, gave a presentation covering his research into “Assessing the effects of BFC using cellular models: stability and bioavailability issues.” The multidisciplinary conference was co-sponsored by the National Cancer Institute and the National Institutes of Health. There were sessions addressing legal issues and consumer concerns in addition to updates from specialists in the various branches of science now working with BFCs.
There will be a one-day workshop at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis on Thursday, Oct. 10, that will provide a comprehensive overview of developing and preparing research proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The workshop will be led by Dr. Henry L. Bart, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane University who has served on NSF review panels. Among the specific topics on the workshop agenda are the various types of NSF awards, and the NSF’s peer review rating systems. The workshop will also cover the functions of the various pieces of proposals, and offer an assortment of tips for organizing and writing a proposal.
Dr. Guibing Chen, an SAES assistant professor and lead scientist for food processing and engineering at the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies on the N.C. Research Campus, has been awarded $299,000 by USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) for research into improving both the palatability and nutritional value of wheat and corn brans. Many studies have shown that the high fiber foods counter obesity, but the typical Western diet (and palate) aren’t ready to accept the health enhancements without improvements. Chen will be working to modify physicochemical and nutritional properties of wheat and corn brans using a microfluidization process.
Dr. Guibing Chen, lead scientist for food engineering at the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) and Dr. Shengmin Sang, a CEPHT colleague who is lead scientist for functional foods, were interviewed by News 14 Carolina’s Charlotte affiliate for a news segment that ran on July 10 detailing how the "NC Research Campus scientists seek to make foods healthier." The story’s lead is that "Doctors say whole grains are part of a healthy diet, but scientists at the North Carolina Research Campus are working on a way to make them even better." It goes on to describe Sang’s research with compounds in wheat bran and oat bran, and Chen’s work to match the nutritional enhancements with improvements in taste that will appeal to consumers.
Prices to hike
A&T faculty and staff can purchase discount tickets for a half-dozen 2013 Aggie football home games until Aug. 1. A&t employees can get as many as four seats for the six home games for $165 per season pass. The 2013 Aggie home football schedule will bring the following rivals to Greensboro:
• Elon, Sept. 14 (kickoff at 6 p.m.)
• Howard, Sept. 28 (kickoff at 6 p.m.)
• Delaware State, Oct. 19 (kickoff at 1 p.m.)
• Virginia University of Lynchburg, Nov. 2 (kickoff — for Homecoming — at 1 p.m.)
• Savannah State, Nov. 17 (kickoff at 1 p.m.)
• N.C. Central, Nov. 23 (kickoff at 1 p.m.)
An article in the June issue of Business Today NC leads off with alerts that "Blueberries and brain health, chia seeds and their nutritional impact, broccoli and preventing eye disease … are examples of some of the most recent findings from the NC Research Campus (NCRC). " Before the article’s first paragraph is over, it cites "Leonard Williams, PhD, director of the NC A&T State University Center for Excellence in Post Harvest Technologies as "one of the scientists leading the food safety charge [at the NCRC]."
Williams has also been selected to lead a panel discussion of latest trends in food protection when some of the food safety professionals attending the International Association for Food Protection ( IAFP) visit the NCRC in late July. Charlotte will be the host city for the IAFP’s 2013 annual meeting — July 28 to 31 — a gathering that is expected to draw 2,500 food safety professionals working in processing operations, quality control, research and development, and for regulatory agencies. (The meeting will also bring more than 140 companies with food safety products and technologies to demonstrate to the Charlotte Convention Center.) IAFP attendees who opt for the NCRC tour visit will get a look at the genomics, proteomics, genetics, NMR, microscopy and analytical sciences laboratories at the David H. Murdock Research Institute following the Williams-led panel discussion.
There will be a one-day workshop at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis on Tuesday, April 23, that will give comprehensive training in writing and developing research proposals for the National Science Foundation (NSF). The workshop will be led by Dr. Henry L. Bart, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at Tulane who has served on NSF review panels. Among the specific topics on the workshop agenda are the various types of NSF awards, the NSF’s peer review rating systems. The workshop will also cover the functions of the various pieces of proposals, and offer an assortment of tips for organizing and writing a proposal.
With newspapers across the state providing such unsettling reports as "A new strain of norovirus could make this a busy year for the nasty intestinal disease [norovirus] (Raleigh News & Observer) and that "State health officials say a new strain of norovirus is making North Carolinians sick," (Asheville Citizen-Times) media inquiries to the N.C. Research Campus reached critical mass for a Web page and a news release devoted to recurring questions regarding norovirus. The authority on foodborne pathogens selected for guidance is Dr. Leonard Williams, director of the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post Harvest Technologies at the N.C. Research Campus. Williams’ advisories for avoiding norovirus are to wash produce thoroughly in warm water, and that "Vegetables like lettuce that have multiple folds need to be scrubbed meticulously." He’s also an advocate of frequent and conscientious hand washing when the hands will be handling food.
Dr. Jianmei Yu, an SAES assistant research professor, is the co-author of an article that appeared in a late fall issue of the International Journal of Food Science and Technology that provides an extensive review of research into the "Functional components of grape pomace: their composition, biological properties and potential applications." Yu’s co-author for the article is Dr. Mohamed Ahmedna, a former SAES food science professor and director of the Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies who is now at Qatar University. Yu and Ahmedna’s review of research work with the wine industry by-product includes grape pomace’s health and nutritional benefits (it increase the fiber and antioxidant when added to other foods) and its untapped potential as a food preservative.
The current issue of The Open Mycology Journal has an article on the potential medicinal mushrooms hold for providing poultry producers a non-chemical method for "keeping birds healthy and free of disease in an intensive, confined rearing environment." The team of authors for "Open Access Effect of Level and Type of Mushroom on Performance, Blood Parameters and Natural Coccidiosis Infection in Floor-Reared Broilers" is led by Dr. Willie Willis of the Department of Animal Sciences, and includes Dr. Omon Isikhuemhen of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Design, Dr. Salam Ibrahim of Family and Consumer Sciences, SAES Research Associates Felicia Anike and Steven Hurley, and two SAES graduate students, Joi Nicole Jackson and Dannica Wall.
On Nov. 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to appoint A&T’s chancellor, Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., to the Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD). The BIFAD was established to advise the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) on the roles agricultural policy decisions and higher education should play in addressing food security — and the absence of it — in developing countries. The current BIFAD chair is Dr. Brady J. Deaton, chancellor of the University of Missouri.
Those who take their search for more details on Martin’s BIFAD appointment to the Division of Research and Economic Development (DORED) website will find the narrative begins with two paragraphs covering USAID and moves along to a third paragraph that begins "The School of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences at N.C. A&T is addressing international food security issues in a number of ways." The DORED website then provides links to two articles covering SAES research. One link is to DORED’s Evolution Magazine where there’s a story about Dr. Manuel Reyes "introducing conservation agriculture techniques to farmers in Cambodia and the Philippines," and also a link to the hot-off-the-press 2012 issue of RE:search, in which one article has details on "Dr. Lijun Wang and Dr. Abolghasem Shahbazi, [who] are among the leaders of the university’s new NSF CREST Bioenergy Center, which is developing the technology to produce biofuels more efficiently…."
The DORED website also links up media coverage of an A&T connection to agriculture on an international scale that flows exclusively through the SAES. The president of the Republic of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, and a delegation of Ecuadorian government officials took a swing through Kannapolis on Oct. 30 for a tour of the N.C. Research Campus. Plans are on the drawing board for a "city of science and technology in northern Ecuador" and the Research Campus is of keen interest because it similarly revolves around "a combination of agriculture, nutrition, science and health." Dr. Leonard Williams, interim director of the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) and lead scientist for food safety and microbiology, gave President Correa and his delegation a tour of CEPHT facilities.
The National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) has awarded Dr. Shengmin Sang of the SAES’s Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies on the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis and Dr. Tracy Hanner of the Dept. of Animal Sciences $300,000 to expand research into colon cancer and nutrition-related health issues. The SAES scientists will apply the NIFA funding to identify the components in wheat bran that seem to reduce the risk of colon cancer. A long-term goal is to develop wheat bran components as dietary agents to prevent or treat cancer in future human studies. The grant, one of six to SAES research scientists and Extension specialists from the NIFA 1890 Capacity Building Program that were recently announced, is among five that the Division of Research and Economic Development’s has selected as "the top new research projects funded recently at North Carolina A&T."
Another recent research recognition for Sang is an invitation to join the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s membership roster as a researcher. Lineberger is a nationally recognized leader in cutting-edge cancer research and treatment. One of only 40 National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer centers, UNC Lineberger brings together physicians and scientists to investigate and improve the prevention, early detection and treatment of cancer.
A research team led by an SAES associate professor of food microbiology who is also the interim director for the SAES’s Center for Excellence for Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, Dr. Leonard Williams, has had a study of food sanitizers published in the May issue of the International Journal of Food Engineering. The research team, which also includes Dr. Janak Khatiwada, a CEPHT postdoctoral research fellow, compared results when peracetic acid, hydrogen peroxide and a biodegradable GRAS sanitizer were used alone as well as when they were used in combination with pulsed ultraviolet light (PUV) to address Salmonella spp. on tomatoes. Study results indicated that peracetic acid had the most pronounced effect on suppressing Salmonella spp. on the tomatoes, and also that "applying PUV alone … might not be as effective in inactivating Salmonella spp. … but when it was combined with sanitizers its effect was significantly increased." The International Journal of Food Engineering article is entitled "Disinfection of Salmonella spp. on Tomato Surface by Pulsed Ultraviolet Light and Selected Sanitizers."
A research team led by Dr. Leonard Williams, associate professor of food microbiology and interim director for the SAES’s Center for Excellence for Post-Harvest Technologies (CEPHT) at the N.C. Research Campus in Kannapolis, has had findings accepted for publication in a recent issue of the international research journal Foodborne Pathogens and Disease. The research team, which also includes Dr. Janak Khatiwada, a CEPHT postdoctoral research fellow, investigated "Antimicrobial Susceptibility Testing of Shiga Toxin–Producing Escherichia coli from Various Samples by Using a Spiral Gradient Endpoint Technique." Their work yielded data showing a growing trend of antimicrobial resistant strains of Escherichia coli, a pathogen implicated in outbreaks of foodborne disease conveyed through ground beef, leafy vegetables and raw milk. The topic of current public concern has pushed the article to the 20-most-read listing at the Foodborne Pathogens and Disease website.