Feb 08, 2023  
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog 
2019-2020 Graduate Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

Food and Nutrition Sciences

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The program leading to the Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition Sciences is a cooperative offering of faculty in the School of Food and Agriculture. Ph.D. candidates choose a focus (animal science, food science, or human nutrition) as a major area of study and research and a Graduate Committee is formed to include members from one or more of these academic areas. A typical doctoral committee consists of a chair who must hold a doctoral degree, at least two other University of Maine faculty members in the same discipline and another 2-3 faculty members with complementary areas of expertise.

There is no minimum credit requirement. An individualized program of study is developed by the student and Graduate Committee according to guidelines prepared by the Food and Nutrition Sciences Program Committee. Course requirements are flexible but include 4 credits of seminar (FSN 571, FSN 671, SFA 672) with formal courses in food and nutrition sciences and related areas chosen to prepare the student for comprehensive examinations and research expertise. Desirable courses for the candidates for the Ph.D. in Food and Nutrition Sciences are given by each of the cooperating programs and are listed in the Course Descriptions section of this catalog. Additional courses offered by other departments may be taken upon approval of the student’s graduate committee.

Students working on a federally-funded research project must also complete a Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR) course before or during the first semester of graduate research. The training is required for all doctoral students. The following courses may be taken to satisfy the RCR requirement:

  • FSN 524 - Responsible Design, Conduct and Analysis of Research (3 credits) (may also be used to fulfill the statistics requirement)
  • INT 601 - Responsible Conduct of Research (1 credit)
  • BIO 505 - Professionalism in Biology (2 credits)
  • CMJ 600 - Introduction to Graduate Study in Communication (2 credits)
  • PSY 603 - Ethics and Professional Problems (3 credits)
  • SFR 521 - Research Methods (3 credits)
  • SMS 691 - Marine Science Seminar (1 credit)

Comprehensive examinations are required at the end of formal course work but may be taken no earlier than one year in the program. Both written and oral examinations must be passed. The written must be passed before the oral and a maximum of three attempts is allowed for the written/oral examinations combined.

Doctoral students must document a professional competency (“special skill”) unrelated to their dissertation research; this competency may be demonstrated via course work or other practical activities. Competencies may include languages, research techniques such as electron microscopy, innovation engineering, marketing, or distance education.

An original research investigation is carried out under the direction of a major advisor. A dissertation is prepared to describe the results of the research, and results are presented in a formal seminar. Although Ph.D. students are encouraged to publish manuscripts with their advisors, there is no minimum number of publications required for graduation.

The Food and Nutrition Sciences faculty are located in Hitchner and Rogers Halls. Research facilities are equipped for food safety and microbiology, food processing, food composition, and food quality evaluation. The Sensory Evaluation Center offers computerized sensory evaluation services. A pilot plant for processing fruits and vegetables, seafood and dairy products is available on site. There is a fully-equipped kitchen for food product preparation and several research laboratories for applied human studies or animal research. Special facilities and equipment are available in the College and University, including DNA sequencing, electron and confocal microscopes, and a small animal care facility.


Graduate Faculty

Alfred A. Bushway, Ph.D. (Purdue, 1978), Professor Emeritus. Fruit and vegetable post-harvest quality and safety, and product development. Dr. Bushway is no longer accepting graduate advisees.

Jason Bolton, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2012), Associate Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist. Food safety; food processing; product development

Beth L. Calder, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2003), Associate Professor and Extension Food Science Specialist.  Assisting the food industry with research, food testing and educational programs in the areas of food safety and technology. Director of the Process and Product Review Testing Services.

Mary Ellen Camire, Ph.D. (Texas Woman’s University, 1989), Professor.  Development, evaluation, and consumer acceptance of healthful foods; sensory science and consumer research, healthy aging, nutrition education and behavior; dietary fiber; whole grains

Dorothy Klimis-Zacas, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University, 1982), Professor. Cholesterol, lipoprotein, trace mineral nutrition and metabolism as related to chronic diseases. Berry bioactives and their role on inflammation and vascular function, metabolism and gene expression related to chronic diseases (cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic syndrome). Trans-cultural studies on the role of Mediterranean diet(s) on chronic diseases.

Robson Machado, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University, 2016), Assistant Extension Professor and Food Safety Specialist. Helping Maine farmers and food entrepreneurs develop safe foods, while assisting processors to address changing regulations when commercializing local food and beverage products.

Jade McNamara, Ph.D. (University of Rhode Island, 2018), Assistant Professor of Human Nutrition. Exploring the relationship between nutrition and food literacy and dietary behaviors, developing curricula and interventions, theory-driven behavior change methods to influence healthy behavior change in youth and young adults, evidence-based instructional practices for critical thinking in health studies and higher education. Instrument/survey development to assess behavior and perceptions of health.

Balunkeswar (Balu) Nayak, Ph.D. (Washington State University, 2011), Associate Professor. food processing and engineering applications on seaweed for novel products, extraction and reuse of food bioactives using nanotechnology, process development for encapsulation and delivery of food nanomaterials using biomaterials, Novel active and smart food packaging materials from bioresources. 

L. Brian Perkins, Ph.D. (University of Maine, 2002), Research Assistant Professor, Instructor and Program Coordinator. Chromatographic (HPLC, GC) method development for bioactive compounds phytonutrients, and toxic substances (naturally-occurring & synthetic) in food and environmental matrices.

Jennifer Perry, Ph.D. (The Ohio State University, 2010), Assistant Professor. Microbial food spoilage; non-thermal technologies, biocontrol and biopreservation; food safety; food processing.

Denise I. Skonberg, Ph.D. (University of Washington, 1997), Associate Professor. Crustacean by-product utilization, quality evaluation of wild and farm-raised aquatic products, seafood product development.

Mona Therrien, D.CN., R.D, L.D. (Rutgers 2013), Lecturer and Dietetic Internship Director. Nutrition in chronic kidney disease and diabetes.

Adrienne A. White, Ph.D., RDN, FAND (University of Tennessee, 1988), Professor Emerita. Nutrition education, interventions, and theory-driven behavior change strategies, community-based participatory research, food behavior across the life cycle. Dr. White is no longer accepting graduate advisees.

Kathryn L. Yerxa, M.S., R.D. (University of Maine, 2003), Associate Extension Professor. Nutrition education; obesity prevention; food security.


Associate Graduate Faculty


Neil Greenberg, MSc. (University of Maryland, 1992), Assistant Director of Aquatic Operations. Aquaculture.

Kathleen Halpin, M.S., R.D., L.D. (University of Southern Maine, 1978), Manager, Clinical Nutrition & Patient Services, Maine Medical Center. Portland, ME. Clinical nutrition.

Lawrence Leblanc, Ph.D. (SUNY Stony Brook, 2001), Research Scientist. Environmental organic chemistry.

Lisa Phelps, Ph.D.,  Program Administrator, University of Maine Cooperative Extension. 4H.

Kathleen Savoie, M.S., R.D. (University of Massachusetts-Amherst, 1991), Associate Extension Professor. Community nutrition; food security; food safety; food preservation.

Susan S. Sullivan, D.Sc., R.D. (Boston University, 1995), Associate Director, School of Food and Agriculture. Clinical nutrition topics and vitamin D.

Sharon Tate, M.S., R.D., L.D. (Montana State University, 2002), Clinical Dietitian, Maine Medical Center. Portland, ME. Clinical nutrition.


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