News from 2020
Why is eating unhealthy food such a hard habit to break? Alexandra DiFeliceantonio, a faculty member at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC and in HNFE, studies how modern high-fat, high-carb foods might be tricking the brain into intensifying reward and pleasure signals.
Matt Hulver will join the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech as executive director, effective May 10. In his new role, Hulver will shape the new vision and programs of the Fralin Life Sciences Institute by leveraging existing strength and developing a strategic plan to enhance resources for Virginia Tech’s life sciences community. Hulver will report to the vice president of Virginia Tech’s Office of Research and Innovation. Hulver was previously assistant dean of health sciences and the head of the Department of the Human Nutrition, Foods, and Exercise. He is also one of the leaders of the Center for Transformative Research on Health Behaviors located at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute at VTC.
HNFE graduate students played a big part in the ComSciCon conference held at the end of February. Grace Davis co-led the "Your Research in a Nutshell" session while Stephanie Edwards Compton and Susan Chen were the co-chairs of the organizing committee. ComSciCon–Virginia Tech is a workshop series that gives young researchers the necessary skills to communicate their scientific research to broad and diverse audiences. Short for “Communicating Science Convention,” ComSciCon is designed by graduate students, for graduate students, in the hopes that they will be able to effectively share information with their nonscientific colleagues.
Debby Good was recognized with the inaugural Inclusive Excellence Fellow Award for her work supporting underrepresented students in STEM. The Inclusive Excellence program at Virginia Tech is sponsored by a five-year, $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Led by Jill Sible, the grant team includes Mike Bowers, Michele Deramo, Debby Good, and Sarah Karpanty. Good is three years into a five-year commitment to the grant, and received the inaugural Inclusive Excellence Fellow Award at a reception at the Hahn Garden Pavilion on Feb. 4 this year.
Congratulations to Brenda Davy, who was honored as the 2020 CALS Outstanding Faculty Graduate Student Mentor!
Eva Schmelz and collaborators from the University of Virginia, Todd Bauer and Nathan Swami, were the recipients of one of four pilot projects funded by the Clinical and Translational Science Award partnership between Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Carilion Clinic, and Inova Health System. They hope to to create a new new tumor cell recognition technique, and their research, which will combine machine learning and electrophysiology, could one day help physicians pick the most effective chemotherapy regimen.
Internship in Nutrition and Dietetics directors Carol Papillon and Amy LaFalce and interns from Blacksburg and Northern Virginia participated in the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (VAND) annual Legislative Day in Richmond. Interns met with state senators and representatives about a variety of bills being considered by the General Assembly and learned how to advocate for food and nutrition policies that improve the health of Virginians.
HNFE alumna Jessica Schultz (B.S. '12) manages Millstone Kitchen in Blacksburg, a fully equipped, shared-space commercial kitchen that may be rented for affordable rates. Though she graduated less than a decade ago, she is leading a bold vision through employing her passions for baking, locally-sourced agriculture, and connecting other aspiring entrepreneurs to support a symbiotic, grassroots model for commerce. Read more about Jessica's journey and success in a CALS Magazine feature!
For just the second time in program history, the Virginia Tech women's soccer team had a student-athlete drafted as HNFE alumna Mandy McGlynn (B.S. '19) becomes the highest drafted women’s soccer player from Virginia Tech! She was the No. 20 pick of Sky Blue FC in the 2020 National Women's Soccer League Draft. McGlynn was the only goalkeeper selected in the 2020 draft and now joins forward Jazmine Reeves as the only women's soccer players drafted out of Tech.
Recent graduate Jaylyn Thompson signed a professional contract to play for the Spanish club team, Zaragoza CFF, who competes in the Liga Reto Iberdrola in Spain.