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New professionals translate the art of science

June 21, 2019

Amy DeJong presentationA new competition debuted at IFT19 that gave new professionals and postdoctoral students an opportunity to hone their scientific communication skills. The Art of Science Translation competition paired three finalists—Courtney Schlossareck, Amy DeJong, and Matthew Teegarden—with an IFT Food Science Communicator, who acted as a mentor to help them prepare for the competition, which took place on June 3, at the IFT Central booth.

The presentations, which were on crystallization in confections, the sensory evaluation of spicy paneer cheese, and using metabolomics to establish the bioactivity of black raspberries, were each 12 minutes long with 3 minutes of questions and answers. During the presentations, a visual note-taker was present to sketch out, in real time, the main themes of each presentation based on what she heard and how well each finalist communicated the science.

After a deliberation by the judges, Amy DeJong was named the winner of the competition. Confectionery science has so much to do with careful control of crystallization, explained DeJong. She went on to explain that there is an abundance of work that has been done in this space for sugar-based systems, but that there is much still to learn about sugar-free systems.  The crystallization behavior of sorbitol, one of the more popular sugar free bulk sweeteners with widespread use in sugar-free gum and mints, is difficult to control and is not well understood in complex systems.