Food Science Lab receives gift for renovation


Iowa State Daily

Matthew Rowling, associate professor of food science and human nutrition and winner of the 2013 Bio-Serv Award, demonstrates his work on vitamin D deficiency, a common problem for diabetics.

Matthew Rezab

The Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition has received an $800,000 gift from the Nelson Foundation, in conjunction with Kemin Industries, to renovate and modernize the Food Science teaching lab inside the Food Sciences Building.

The renovation of the 1,950-square-foot laboratory will include new, up-to-date equipment to improve the learning experience in food chemistry and food microbiology courses. 

“There has been a long relationship between the Food Science and Human Nutrition department and [Kemin],” said Brian Meyer, director of college relations for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “They’ve been very supportive of our students and working with our faculty members on various projects.”

The project is tentatively scheduled to begin this fall and be completed sometime in 2016.

“I think it will give food science students that hands-on experience they need for their future,” Meyer said. “It will be a much more state-of-the-art teaching lab than it has been in the past.”

Ruth MacDonald, chair of the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, said the total cost of the project will be covered by the gift and no university funds will be used. She added that the project was long overdue.

“The current laboratory has not been updated for over 40 years and does not suit the needs of current teaching approaches. The renovation will improve the use of space by removing unused walk — in cold rooms and replacing the outdated work benches,” MacDonald said.

Currently, about 200 students make up the food science and culinary science major program. MacDonald said the new lab will also help with recruitment.

“When you can show prospective students top quality facilities it does help with recruitment,” she said. “Food Science is an excellent major at [Iowa State] and our students are snapped up for jobs across the country and the globe. We see an ongoing need to graduate more food science majors and having this new teaching lab will make that even more possible.”