Cereal Quality Lab – Members

Audrey Girard – Associate Research Scientist Audrey Girard

Audrey’s research goal is to enhance nutritive quality of grain-based foods through use of grain components with high human health benefit and improved processing methods. She is interested in grain polymer (protein and carbohydrate) chemistry, functionality, and novel applications. Audrey also plans to study health effects of grain components, especially secondary metabolites, and how processing alters these effects.

Audrey earned her Ph.D. in Food Science and Technology from Texas A&M University (2018) after receiving her B.S. in Bakery Science from Kansas State University (2013).


Julia Brantsen – Ph.D. student

Julia’s research focuses on 3-deoxyanthocyanins from sorghum. Black sorghum varieties are a dense source of these compounds which are naturally occurring pigments similar to anthocyanins. 3-deoxyanthocyanins have potential as a natural food colorant due to their supreme stability to food processing conditions compared to anthocyanins. However, there are limitations to their use in food products, including rapid self-association in aqueous solutions and poor extraction efficiency. Julia’s research objectives are to define the mechanism of aqueous stability of 3-deoxyanthocyanins with food polysaccharides in addition to improving the extraction efficiency and understanding the effect of extraction methods on these compounds form sorghum.

Julia is from Muskegon, MI, graduated with her B.S. in Food Science from Michigan State University in 2013, and is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Food Science and Technology.


Fariha Irshad – Ph.D. student Fariha Irshad

Fariha is from Pakistan. She earned her Bachlor’s degree from University of Agriculture, Pakistan, 2014, her M.S in Food and Nutrition in 2016 under Dr. Frank Hons, and is currently is a Ph.D. candidate in Food Science and Technology under the supervision of Dr. Joseph Awika and Dr. Mian Riaz.

Her M.S. research on antioxidant potential of seeds for use in herbal products is focused on the determination of hypoglycemic impact of Nigella sativa and Trachyspermum ammi in diabetic patients.


Katie Duke – MS student Katie Duke

Katie is from Lucas, Texas, and graduated in 2017 with a B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Texas A&M University.

She is currently working on her Master of Science in Food Science and Technology under Dr. Joseph Awika.


Suleiman Althawab – Ph.D. student Suleiman Althawab

Suleiman is from Shimasiyah Town, Saudi Arabia. He earned his B.S. in Food Science and Human Nutrition from Qassim University in 2011 and his MS Food Science and Technology from TAMU in 2018.

He is currently working toward his doctoral degree in Food Science and Technology under Dr. Joseph Awika.

Visiting Scholars

  • Valeria Queiroz, Aug. 1 – Dec. 31, 2019
  • Mariela Patrignani, Sept. 1 – Nov. 30, 2019
  • Halef Dizlek, June 23, 2019 – June 30, 2020

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