Kansas City Local Section

Summer 2017 Newsletter

There will be no August dinner meeting



Save the Date!  and Mark Your Calendar!

 *PLEASE RSVP by contacting Sarah Leibowitz: Sleibowitzacs@gmail.com

2017 Kenneth A. Spencer Award Dinner Ceremony

September 21

Fulkerson Center

Missouri Western State University, St. Joseph MO


This award is presented for outstanding achievement in agricultural and food chemistry.  The award was founded in 1955 and endowed by the Kenneth A. and Helen F. Spencer Foundation.  The AGRO and AGFD ACS divisions were involved with the nomination process and the Kansas City Section of the American Chemical Society is honored to present this year’s award in September to Dr. J. Bruce German from UC-Davis.  (Please see Dr. German’s biography on page 2 of this publication.)


Calendar of EventsThursday, September 21, 2017

Please mark your calendar and plan on joining us for the Symposium and an   Employment Forum which will take place in the afternoon prior to the dinner ceremony.

The Symposium will begin at 1:30pm and the Employment Forum will begin at 5:00pm.  The meetings will take place in the Fulkerson Center on Missouri Western State University’s campus.


Presenters for the Symposium include:

Linda Tikofsky, Professional Services Veterinarian, Boehringer Ingelheim:  1:30pm

Tona Melgarejo, Professor, Western University of Health Sciences:  2:00pm

Carolina Mateaus, Director Research & Development, DeLaval:  2:30pm

Bruce German, Spencer Award Winner, UC Davis:  3:15pm

Lance Phillips, President, Owl Software:  3:45pm

Wally Yokoyama, Healthy Processed Foods Research, ARS-USDA:  4:15pm

The Symposium Presenters will then hold an Employment Forum at 5:00pm.

 Including Emily McVey, Director, KC Animal Health Corridor 

Social:  5:45pm  Student Posters will be available during the social!


 Buffet Dinner from 6:30 - 7:15 - Salad, Vegetables, Beef, Chicken and Salmon.

Featuring Shatto Milk Shots and Cheese Cake! 

Welcome and Introductions  7:15 - 7:30 (Dr. Robert Vartabedian, Pres. MWSU)

Dr. German's Presentation 7:30.

 Abstract on Dr. German’s Dinner Presentation:


“What Evolution is Teaching Us About Diet and Health”

Bruce German Foods for Health Institute

University of California, Davis


What should we grow and eat? This apparently simple question is at the center of the world’s great challenges health, politics, climate. Diet-dependent, non-communicable diseases are now the leading causes of death throughout the modern world. Food insecurity is the basis of much of the world’s political instability. Agriculture is a contributor to water use, ecological disruption, atmospheric gases and climate change. We need answers, fast! If we ask evolution we get little help. The pervasive selective pressure on organisms throughout evolution was relentless – to avoid being eaten. The microorganisms, plants, animals that survived found ingenious ways to avoid - being food. So if we want to know what NOT to eat, the entire history of evolution is an asset. But what evolved under the selective pressure to be food, nourishing, protective, supportive and sustaining? Lactation! A multi-disciplinary team of scientists at UC Davis intensively studying human milk, mothers and babies made a remarkable discovery. A complex component of milk, oligosaccharides, was selected through evolution, not to feed babies but rather to feed a specific strain of bacteria within the baby. This ingenious strategy of mammalian lactation: recruiting a bacterium as baby sitter; protects, educates, nourishes and fuels the baby. These scientists then made a disturbing realization, the bacteria are largely gone. This strain of bacteria is highly sensitive to antibiotics, doesn't move from mother to infant during a C-section birth and doesn't survive on infant formula. Modern health care has inadvertently fired the baby sitter. This realization led the team on a ten-  year quest to put it back in babies. Starting with developing an intellectual property dossier and forming a company and finally launching the bacteria as an active, living product, the story illustrates a small bridge over the valley of death, from complex science to simple product. The same team was guided in another direction by premature babies and trying to answer the pressing question: can premature babies digest human milk proteins? State of the art chemistry answered the question, yes milk proteins are digested? But an even more intensive combination of chemistry and biology explained how – there are enzymes in the milk that are activated in the baby. Milk is self-digesting. This realization has pointed to an unappreciated problem with adults. As we age, we don’t digest proteins as well as when we were young. What’s the solution – ask your mother. The future of foods will need enzymes to help us digest what, where and when we want. 



J. Bruce German


Dr. German’s nominator is Dr. Wally Yokoyama.

Professor in Food Science and Technology, Director, Foods for Health Institute, University of California Davis (http://ffhi.ucdavis.edu/)

Bruce German received his PhD from Cornell University, joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in 1988, in 1997 was named the first John E. Kinsella Endowed Chair in Food, Nutrition and Health is currently Director of the Foods for Health Institute and professor, at University of California, Davis. His research interests include the structure and function of dietary lipids, the role of milk components in food and health and the application of metabolic assessment to personalizing diet and health.

 The goal of his research is to build the knowledge necessary to improve human health through personalized health measurements and foods. Research projects directed to this goal are studying how individual human lipid metabolism responds to the chemical composition and structural organization of foods. Each person has slightly different responses to diet based on their genetics, their lifestage and lifestyle, their metabolism and their nutrition status. It is thus necessary to understand the molecular basis of these differences, how to measure them and design food strategies to complement them. We are working on analytical strategies to enable individuals to monitor how their body reacts to various foods and to modify their consumption to maintain good health. With health targets established it is the equally important task of the research to understand how to provide superior choices in foods that integrate the compositional, structural and nutritional functionalities of biomaterials. The model being used of how to proceed is milk, the product of millennia of constant Darwinian selective pressure to produce a food to nourish, sustain and promote healthy infant mammals to be healthier http://www.imgconsortium.org/ . Milk is the only bio-material that has evolved for the purpose of nourishing growing mammals. Survival of offspring exerted a strong selective pressure on the biochemical evolution of lactation as a bioguided process. Just as evolution of any biological organism, the strong survive, which leads to the appearance of new traits that promote health, strength and ultimately survival. This evolutionary logic is the basis of the research program to discover physical, functional and nutritional properties of milk components and to apply these properties as principles to foods.

Bruce and colleagues have published more than 400 papers on lipids and food, metabolism and metabolite measurements and food functions and patented various technologies and applications of bioactive agents. The research articles from the lab are available at http://scholar.google.com/citations?hl=en&user=0Zkd2dwAAAAJ