New AgBioResearch Faculty Members

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The MAES is pleased to welcome three new faculty members.

Jenifer Fenton, assistant professor of food science and human nutrition, became affiliated with the MAES in January. Her research focuses on the hormone secretions of adipose tissues (a type of connective tissue that contains stored cellular fat) and their connection to the development of the inflammatory state associated with obesity and its related colon cancer risk. In her new role, Fenton will collaborate with both faculty and doctoral students on research related to obesity, inflammation and/or cancer.

Before coming to MSU, Fenton served as a cancer prevention fellow at the National Cancer Institute from 2002 to 2007. As part of this fellowship, she received a master’s degree in public health from the University of Michigan in 2003. Fenton received her doctorate in animal science from MSU in 1999 and her master’s degree in reproductive physiology and a bachelor’s degree in animal science from the University of Missouri in 1995 and 1993, respectively.

Elizabeth Gardner was named associate professor of food science and human nutrition in January. Her research focuses on how nutrition and age affect the body’s immune response to influenza. Gardner’s research has shown that, as people age, the immune system’s response to influenza declines because natural killer cells can’t control the early stages of the infection. Gardner’s more recent research focuses on how nutritional choices can either reduce or improve immune response to influenza in both young and older people.

Before coming to MSU, Gardner was an assistant professor of biology at Drexel University in Philadelphia. She received her doctorate in nutritional biochemistry from the Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1994 and her bachelor’s degree in biology from Chestnut Hill College in 1987.

Ik-Soon “Ike” Kang was named assistant professor of animal science in January. His research focuses on developing processes that add value to fresh or processed meat products, including red meat, poultry and fish. One of Kang’s current research projects is developing a process to accelerate muscle-to-meat conversion, improve protein functionality and ensure microbial safety. Kang also is exploring developing functional additives to enhance underutilized fish species as well as a process to reduce sodium in processed meats.

Kang was associate principal scientist for Oscar Mayer/Kraft Foods from 2000 to 2009. He received his doctorate in food science from Texas A&M University in 1996, his master’s degree in animal science from California State University in Fresno in 1991 and his bachelor’s degree in animal science from Kon-Kuk University, Seoul, Korea, in 1988.

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