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Outstanding Faculty Award 2021: Carmen Moraru

Bio

Carmen I. Moraru, Professor in the Department of Food Science at Cornell University, obtained her B.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Food Engineering from the University of Galati, in her native Romania. After working in the food industry for two years and then as a faculty member for eight years at her alma mater, she moved with her family to the U.S. in 1999, when she joined the Department of Food Science at Rutgers University as a postdoctoral associate, and then as a Research Assistant Professor. She joined the Cornell faculty in 2003 and was promoted through the ranks to professor. She became department chair in 2019, and in this role has overseen many activities and initiatives in Food Science, including the launch of a dual degree program with China Agricultural University.

Dr. Moraru’s teaching and research program focuses on using engineering principles and novel processing methods to improve food quality, safety and sustainability. Examples of research projects include applying high pressure processing to modify protein functionality and create novel foods with unique structures, microbial inactivation using nonthermal technologies, novel methods for food concentration and drying and the design of surfaces with nanostructured topography able to repel bacteria. She also has a keen interest in international aspects of food processing and has done work in Africa and eastern Europe. The results of her work resulted in several books and book chapters, as well as more than 70 research papers published in prestigious journals including PNAS, npj Biofilms, npj Foods, Frontiers in Microbiology, Colloids and Interfaces, Journal of Food Engineering, Journal of Dairy Science, and many others. Dr. Moraru is often invited to speak at professional meetings and conferences and has given nearly 100 invited talks in the U.S., as well as Brazil, Greece, Germany, Italy, Canada, China, India, Sweden, and Romania. In 2017 and 2018 she had the privilege to talk about her research and advocate for the importance of research funding for food and agriculture in front of the U.S. Congress.

Dr. Moraru frequently serves as a member of scientific and organizing committees for national and international conferences and symposia. She held and still holds leadership roles in national professional organizations, including the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), the American Dairy Science Association (ADSA), and the Society of Food Engineering, and is a member of the standing council of ERVA - the NSF Engineering Research Visioning Alliance and a member of editorial boards for several scientific publications. She also served on several CALS committees.

Her contributions to science and her profession have been recognized through distinctions and awards. She was selected as distinguished lecturer for the Nonthermal Processing Division of IFT in 2021, distinguished lecturer for the Food Engineering Division of IFT in 2017 and received the International Dairy Foods Association Award in Dairy Foods Research in 2013. She highly values mentoring and teaching students and received several awards for teaching, including the SUNY Chancellor’s Excellence in Teaching Award (2020), the International Dairy Foods Association Teaching Award in Dairy Manufacturing (2015), after receiving twice the Teaching Excellence Award from the Cornell Institute of Food Science Advisory Council (2012, 2008). In 2019, Dr. Moraru received the honorary title of Doctor Honoris Causa from the University of Agronomic Sciences and Veterinary Medicine of Bucharest, Romania, and in 2020 was elected Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists.