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Purdue Announces New Head of Department of Food Science

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Farkas humbled with Purdue position

Thirty years after the creation of the Department of Food Science at Purdue University its third leader has been announced by Dean of Agriculture Jay Akridge. Effective the first of July Brian Farkas arrives in West Lafayette from North Carolina State where he is Professor of Food Engineering and Undergraduate Coordinator, Food Science.

Farkas says the chance to succeed Philip Nelson and Suzanne Nielsen, people he’s known since graduate school, is humbling.

“The reason I know them is because of the reputation of Purdue and specifically Purdue Food Science. To be coming in to a department like that is humbling.”

His first order of business will be to do a lot of listening.

“I’ll listen to the people of the department, the students and the faculty and the staff, and then the people the state and industries there and get to know them. Nineteen years here in North Carolina and I really got to know North Carolina agriculture and the industries, and before that my whole life in California. It’s time I learn about Indiana some more.”

Farkas told HAT his agenda is the department’s agenda so he aims to heavily involve faculty, staff and students of the department in determining its vision and future direction.

“As far as a vision it think that continuing the excellence that they’ve already done and then building into the next big era of food science. I see a big part of that in human health so I’ll be parterning up with other departments in the college and across colleges, and specifically nutrition with Connie Weaver’s group.”

According to Akridge, Farkas “is a proven leader, and I am very excited about the vision, passion and energy he will bring to the food science department.”

HAT interview:Brian Farkas

Purdue Ag release:

Brian E. Farkas, professor of food science at North Carolina State University since 1994, has been appointed professor and head of Purdue University’s Department of Food Science.

The appointment, effective July 1, was announced Monday (March 25) by Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue’s College of Agriculture.

Farkas succeeds Suzanne Nielsen, who is returning to the College of Agriculture faculty after serving 10 years as department head.

Akridge said Farkas has an exceptional record of accomplishment in all of Purdue Agriculture’s mission areas: teaching, discovery and engagement.

“He is a proven leader, and I am very excited about the vision, passion and energy he will bring to the food science department,” Akridge said.

Farkas said he is honored to be following in the footsteps of the department’s first two leaders – Nielsen, and, before her, Philip E. Nelson. He said the department’s faculty and staff and the college’s administration are leaders in their field.

“Their reputation for excellence in the land-grant mission is widely known, from developing students as scientists and professionals to addressing critical issues of global interest and facilitating Indiana’s economic growth,” he said.

Farkas will continue his research in transport phenomena as applied to food and agriculture, with a current focus on high-temperature interfacial science. In this, his laboratory seeks to develop a better understanding of the flow of mass and energy across solid-liquid-gas interfaces during processing at elevated temperatures.

Farkas has been alumni distinguished undergraduate professor and undergraduate coordinator of food science at North Carolina State since 2009. He began his work at the university as an assistant professor in the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences and rose to professor and associate department head in 2006 before taking on his current duties. Farkas also has had a graduate faculty appointment at Purdue since 2010.

He worked in the freeze-drying industry as a process engineer and alternate shift supervisor at Innovative Foods Inc. of South San Francisco, Calif., from 1985-1987 and held research and teaching positions at the University of California at Davis from 1992-1994.

Farkas received his doctorate in engineering and a master’s degree in food science from the University of California Davis and a bachelor’s degree in food science from the University of Delaware.

Akridge thanked Nielsen for her work as the food science department head.

“I want to express my deepest appreciation to Dr. Nielsen for a decade of leadership of one of the nation’s top food science departments,” he said.

Source: Purdue Ag Communications