Penn State food scientist becomes president of Institute of Food Technologists

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — John Coupland, professor of food science in Penn State's College of Agricultural Sciences, on Sept. 1 began a one-year term as president of the Institute of Food Technologists, a nonprofit scientific society committed to advancing the science of food and its application across the global food system.

"It's a privilege to serve in this role. Food science and technology are essential in the modern world, and IFT's mission to advance the science of food has never been more relevant," Coupland said. "I look forward to getting out and meeting with as many members as I can, as well as working with staff and other volunteer leaders to better meet their needs."

In his position as the Chicago-based organization's 77th president, Coupland will work with food scientists, technologists and professionals from related disciplines in academia, industry and government to support IFT's strategic priorities. Those objectives include advancing and promoting careers in the science of food; establishing productive and interactive global networks; promoting science, technology and their application; and supporting advocacy efforts that contribute evidence-based science to the public dialogue on food issues.

An area of particular interest for Coupland is the value of science communication in helping the public to better understand the ways food science is used to feed people every day so they can make more-informed decisions about the food they eat.

As a professor of food science at Penn State, Coupland teaches core undergraduate and graduate courses in food chemistry, a graduate course about the physical chemistry of foods, and a course about arguments around food. He conducts research on emulsion science and fat crystallization.

Coupland has published more than 100 research papers and book chapters. He recently published the textbook, "An Introduction to the Physical Chemistry of Foods."

As an active IFT member since 1996, Coupland has served on the institute's board of directors, in the Food Chemistry Division, and on the Feeding Tomorrow board of trustees. He is a member of the Keystone Section of IFT.

Coupland received both his bachelor's and doctoral degrees in food science at Leeds University in the United Kingdom before coming to the United States and serving as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. After a second postdoctoral position, at University College Dublin, he joined the Penn State food science faculty in 1998.

Founded in 1939, the Institute of Food Technologists is committed to advancing the science of food. The nonprofit scientific society — with more than 17,000 members from more than 90 countries — brings together food scientists, technologists and related professionals from academia, government and industry. More information is available on the IFT website.

One area of focus for new IFT president John Coupland is helping the public to understand the role of food science in feeding people every day so they can make more-informed decisions about their food. Credit: Penn StateCreative Commons

Last Updated September 08, 2016