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Food for Thought                 January 2013



Thank you for your continued work in support of the Food Innovation Center.

Over the past years of our cross-disciplinary Food Innovation Center, we have continued to expand our efforts to stimulate interesting and provocative research involving leading social scientists and STEM colleagues. In this note, I highlight a series of research questions that FIC members interested in bridging disciplines may find of interest. 

1. Whether and how does technological change (e.g., biotechnology) affect vertical integration of food producers, distributors, and retailers?

2. What are the performance consequences of integration across different types of food products?
3. Under what conditions is the use of "open innovation" techniques such as tournaments or crowdsourcing effective means to organize food innovation?

4. When is local food production an efficient and viable means of producing and distributing food?

5. How does the current organization of the food system affect innovation and the diffusion of innovative food products?

6. Whether and how do public policies regarding food production, processing, and distribution help or hinder innovation?

7. Whether and how does the nutritional content of food affect business profitability?

In the coming months, the FIC will be taking additional steps to foster interactions between social scientists and STEM scholars. These steps include partial support for two, two-day statistical seminars and the release of data from a survey of 600 senior food manufacturing managers. I hope you'll agree that Ohio State and the FIC are developing a broad, multi-disciplinary approach to addressing many of the food and nutrition related problems facing our society. Please feel free to express interest in these areas or submit additional ideas to  

Best wishes,

Michael Leiblein 

FIC Associate Director

Associate Professor, Strategic Management, Fisher College of Business

In This Issue
Member Spotlight
FIC By The Numbers
Seed Grant RFP
Graduate Student Travel Awards
FIC Travel Award Recipient Wins AAVI-AAI Young Investigator Award
What Does the FIC Mean to You?
Send You Photos to FIC
Upcoming Events
FIC News
Save the Date! 
The Food Innovation Center Annual Meeting is Thursday,
Member Spotlight 
Daren Knoell, a full professor in the College of Pharmacy and College of Medicine, has been an independent thinker since forging a unique path after receiving his Doctor of Pharmacy degree from the University of Nebraska. Read the full article
E-newsletter Archive
Follow us on Twitter
View our videos on YouTube 
FIC By The Numbers 


This month marks the beginning of the Food Innovation Center's fourth year. Enjoy these highlights of three years of food innovation with our thanks for your participation. 

  • 324 members, more than triple the original number. Currently 207 full members and 117 associates.
  • 14 colleges represented; FIC now spans all colleges at OSU. 
  • $1,272,235 invested in 76 multi-college projects that collectively engage 13 colleges and 13 industry and community partners.
  • $7,871,232 in follow-on extramural support secured by FIC-supported teams.        
  • 147 participants in the third annual FIC meeting, 253 in the obesity symposium co-hosted with Nationwide Children's Hospital, and 60 invited stakeholders representing industry, academia, nonprofits, and key national affiliates attended the Hunger.FOOD.Health Think Tank in collaboration with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.


  • 40 travel awards helped graduate students present at prominent conferences. 
  • 13 high school students mentored in food innovation. 
Seed Grant RFP: Apply by March 4


This week FIC announced the fourth annual Seed Grant competition. This year's RFP supports the university-wide priority of food discovery. These one-year $25,000 awards 

support innovative, new multi-college research. Teams of at least two FIC Full Members from two colleges (see the membership news item below) are invited to apply by March 4 to this foundational FIC program. Across its first three years, FIC invested $786,000 in 32 seed grant projects that are now maturing to secure extramural support, to publish and present, and to commercialize discoveries. View the RFP.
New FIC Membership Categories: Check Your Profile  
FIC recently updated its membership guidelines: our two member categories are now Full Member (those with full PI status) and Associate Member. We added an External Affiliate category for collaborators from outside the university. We invite you to: 
  1. Visit your profile at to verify your new membership category. The categories are especially important in determining eligibility for FIC funding programs. While reviewing your membership category, why not take a moment to see if any other profile information should be updated?
  2. Use the "Search members" box in the right column to look for a new collaborator; new FIC members are added every month--one may be just the expert your project needs.
  3. If you know others at or outside of OSU who might benefit from joining FIC, invite them to complete the brief online application.
Send any membership questions or requests to 
Graduate Student Travel Awards to Continue for 2013-2014 Academic Year


The Food Innovation Center has released a new RFA to continue its Graduate Student Travel Award Program. The awards are designed to help students working on projects consistent with the FIC mission travel to present at professional meetings and conferences of national or international significance. Graduate students advised by a full member of FIC may apply for up to $500 in support with a required 1:1 match of the requested amount from any source guaranteed by the student's advisor. Notable program deadlines: 

July 8, 2013: for travel during 2013 fall semester (August, September, October, November, and December)

December 2, 2013: for travel during 2014 spring semester and summer term (January, February, March, April, May, June and July)

For more information, visit
FIC Travel Award Recipient Wins AAVI-AAI Young Investigator Award


Basavaraj Binjawadagi, a Ph.D. student in Comparative and Veterinary Medicine, recently traveled to the Conference of Research Workers in Animal Diseases and received the "AAVI*-AAI** Young Investigator Award" for achieving first place in oral presentation in the Immunology Section. In addition, this distinction also carried a $500 cash award. His presentation, titled Nanoparticle-Based Inactivated Adjuvanted Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Syndrome Virus Vaccine Elicits Superior Cross-Protective Immunity, was supported with funds from the Food Innovation Center's Graduate Student Travel Award Program. 

Congratulations Basavaraj!

*American Association of Veterinary Immunologists; **American Association of Immunologists
What Does the Food Innovation Center Mean to You?


Collaboration? Networking? Pilot funding for novel cross-college research? Making an impact?

We've been traveling across campus to ask FIC members to tell us what the Food Innovation Center means to them. We've received many great responses and will share them all in the near future. For now, here's a sneak peek. Chris Taylor, Associate Professor in Medical Dietetics and Family Medicine shares his thoughts:


Chris Taylor - What Does the Food Innovation Center Mean to You?
Chris Taylor - What Does the Food Innovation Center Mean to You?

Keep an eye out for more member responses by subscribing to our YouTube Channel. If you would like to let us know what the Food Innovation Center means to you, please email your comments to
Send Your Photos to FIC!
Thanks for the photo Bala!
It's important to us that FIC members are informed about what's going on at the Center. We also want to share great news with the general public so they can get to know FIC better too!

FIC members can help by sending in photos of themselves conducting food-related research. We are looking for candid shots of FIC researchers in action. These do not have to be professional photos. 

Send your photos to along with a brief description. If preferred, you may schedule a time for our intern to stop by to take photos/video. Follow our Twitter account @food_center
 to see your photos! 
Upcoming Events


Healthy Wintertime Cooking Demo 

Time: Jan. 30, 2013 @ 3pm to 4pm
Location: Ohio Union Instructional Kitchen (bottom floor)

Join the College of Nursing for another Wellness Wednesday event. Healthy eating! Healthy cooking! Chief Wellness Officer Dr. Bernadette Melnyk will be cooking up something healthy to share with faculty, staff and students at this fun and entertaining event! The food demo will focus on healthy wintertime eats! Please register for this event, as space is limited.
Michael Mercil's Covenant Film and Panel Discussion 
Time: Feb. 7, 2013 @ 7pm
Location: Wexner Center for the Arts, Film/Video Theater, located in the lower level
A captivating extension of (FIC Member) Michael Mercil's 2008-2011 Wexner Center installation The Virtual Pasture, Covenant reflects on the economy of keeping livestock. Read more. 

Covenant Trailer
Covenant Trailer

34th Annual Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference
Time: Feb. 16-17, 2013 @ 9am to 4:15pm
Location: Granville Middle and High schools, 248 New Burg St., Granville, OH 43023

Join FIC members and Ohio State University professionals for the upcoming Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association Conference (OEFFA), "Growing Opportunities, Cultivating Change." The conference offers over 90 different sessions related to organic production. Read more
CIFT Ohio Food Industry Expo
Time: March 1, 2013 @ 9am to 2:30pm
Location: NorthPointe Hotel and Conference Center, Lewis Center, Ohio
**Special discount rate available for FIC members**
Food manufacturers and auxiliary service providers will convene to discover new techniques, learn of industry trends, and identify valuable resources that will strengthen the already sizable industry of more than 1,000 food manufacturers in Ohio. FIC is co-sponsoring this event. Our new Vice President Bruce McPheron will help kick off the event, and media commentator Jon Entine will speak about the politics of obesity

Register before Feb. 22 for an FIC discount: FIC full and associate members are eligible for a 50% discount off the already-reduced registration cost; your out-of-pocket cost will only be $25, with FIC picking up the rest. For more details on this special subsidized rate, email before Feb. 22. To learn more about the event, go here.
FIC News


FIC Researchers First to Investigate Relationships Between Home Environment and Food Choices
In a new Ohio State University study, researchers will learn more about the home-health relationship by personally examining 100 central Ohio residences and, in particular, food choices and food availability in those dwellings. In a rare twist, the scientists will even assess the architectural features associated with food - how and where it's stored, how easy it is to obtain and where it is typically consumed. Read the full article.

FIC Member Brian Roe Awarded Research Grant to Improve Children's Vegetable-Eating Habits
FIC Member Brian Roe, along with Ph.D. student Matthew Pham, were awarded a $1,600 from The Ohio State University's Behavioral Decision Making Initiative. The grant will go towards the investigation of how to improve the amount of vegetables children eat. Read the full article.

FIC Researchers Find Proper Sanitation May Not Be Enough to Kill Contagious Norovirus
FIC members Jianrong Li and Melvin Pascall have been investigating the effectiveness of killing viruses that spread foodborne illnesses using commercial sanitization used at restaurants. Their study finds that regulation cleaning protocols remove an appropriate amount of bacteria but is not as effective when removing the highly contagious norovirus. Read the full article.

FIC Member Armando Hoet Leads Students on Innovative Trip to Latin America
With the majority of food produced in Costa Rica exported to the United States, food safety and food security are key issues. With the Farm the Table Program: Costa Rica 2012, Director and FIC member Armando Hoet guided Ohio State students through different food systems in Costa Rica while learning about different issues from public and animal health to food policies. Read the full article.

FIC Members Earn AAAS Distinction
Three Food Innovation Center faculty members have been elected among the newest class of Fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Scholars receive this honor due to scientifically or socially distinguished efforts to advance science or its applications. As a result of this distinction, they join a cadre of over 200 Fellows on the faculty at The Ohio State University.The FIC members among the new AAAS Fellows are: 

Prabir Dutta
Distinguished University Professor of chemistry; for notable contributions in
understanding zeolite formation and applications of zeolites in photocatalysis and sensing.

Mark Failla
Professor and interim chair of human sciences; for distinguished contributions to the field of nutritional biochemistry for developing valuable models elucidating bioavailability, metabolism and efficacy of health promoting dietary constituents. 

Susan Olesik
Professor and chair of chemistry and biochemistry; for distinguished contributions to the field of analytical chemistry as well as excellence in communicating science to the public.

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