Group members – University of Copenhagen

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Members of Food Proteins

Marianne Nissen LundAssociate Professor, Marianne Nissen Lund obtained her MSc degree in food science and technology (cand. techn. al.) from KVL (The Royal Veterinary and Agricultural University) with special focus on food chemistry, and was awarded her PhD degree in Dec 2007. She had been affiliated with Department of Food Science at University of Copenhagen since 2004 with a break as industrial postdoc at Novozymes in 2011-2013, where she has focused on understanding the chemical mechanisms that are important to food quality and stability.

She was appointed associate professor in January 2012 at Department of Food Science. In 2015 she was jointly appointed as associate professor at Department of Biomedical Sciences and Department of Food Science to increase the strategic collaboration between the departments and build a research field in the gap between food and health sciences.

See Marianne's full CV. 

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Sisse JongbergAssistant Professor, Sisse Marquina-Jongberg obtained her PhD degree from KU in 2012, and is currently employed as associate professor at Department of Food Science with a general research interest in food oxidation and antioxidative strategies by phenolic compounds originated from plant extracts.

Her work has been focused on inhibition of protein oxidation in meat and meat products by phenolic compounds as well as the interactions occurring between meat proteins and phenolic compounds. These interactions include formation of protein thiol-quinone adducts which has been found to influence protein functionality in meat products. Her current research focus is investigation of thiol-quinone interactions in beer, and how these reactions influence colloidal stability of beer.

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Therese JanssonPostdoc, Therese Jansson is investigating chemical reactions in lactose-hydrolyzed ultra-high temperature (UHT) treated milk. The shelf life of lactose-hydrolyzed UHT milk is limited by chemical and sensorial changes taking place during storage. The aim of her research is to elucidate which reactions that take place in the milk during storage, and how to inhibit these reactions, and thereby increase the shelf life of the milk.

Therese has primarily focused on the reactions between the proteins and sugars in the milk (Maillard reaction), as well as on lipid oxidation products, but also proteolytic activity and protein degradation. Currently, I am investigating how polyphenols affect the chemical reactions in the lactose-hydrolyzed UHT milk during storage, and if polyphenols can be added to lactose-hydrolyzed UHT milk to inhibit the Maillard reaction.

Analytical methods used: Dynamic headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), High-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H NMR) spectroscopy, Sensorial descriptive analysis.

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Kasper EngholmPostdoc, Kasper Engholm-Keller obtained his MSc in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the Protein Research Group at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU) in 2008. Continuing this research at SDU in a project focused on setting up new analytical methods for global investigation of post-translational protein modifications such as phosphorylation (phosphoproteomics) using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), Kasper was awarded his PhD in 2011.

From 2012 to 2017 Kasper was working as a postdoctoral fellow in Sydney, Australia at the Children’s Medical Research Institute doing quantitative analysis of phospho-proteins in the nerve terminal to identify new cellular signalling mechanisms modulating synaptic transmission in the brain. His postdoc project is focused on investigating how photo-oxidation can be used to generate functional protein aggregates for food products and identify the specific protein modifications/crosslinks generated by UV irradiation of dairy products using mass spectrometry. Key analytical techniques: Proteomics (large-scale quantification/identification of proteins) using liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), affinity chromatography for enrichment of modified peptides, gel-electrophoresis (SDS-PAGE), western blotting, enzymatic fluorescence-based assays for quantification of small molecules

Mahesha M. PoojaryPostdoc, Mahesha M. Poojary obtained his MSc degree in Chemistry from the National Institute of Technology Karnataka, India (2011). Later he worked as a Lecturer in Chemistry at Canara Engineering College, Mangalore, India (2011-2013). He received his PhD degree in Chemical Sciences from the University of Camerino, Italy (Eureka Fellowship) in April 2017. He has previously worked as a Guest Researcher at the Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen during May 2015-May 2016. He was awarded the Australia Awards-Endeavour Research Fellowship by the Australian Government and worked as a Research Fellow at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia (May 2016-December 2016).

His research interest lies primarily in the area of food analytical chemistry-development of GC and HPLC analytical methodologies. He is also interested in conventional and non-conventional food processing and, GC-MS and LC-based metabolomics. His postdoc work is focussed on the improvement of the quality and stability of UHT treated dairy products.

Renjie LiPostdoc, Renjie Li obtained his PhD degree in food science from College of Food Science and Nutritional Engineering, China Agricultural University, in June 2015. His PhD thesis is “purification and characterization of soluble acid invertase from mango, and effect of high pressure on its activity and structure”. From 2016 to 2017, he worked as a postdoc in the Carlsberg Laboratory on the application of Traditional Chinese Medicine herbs in beer and beverages as an alternative to hops. His research interest is application of advanced food technologies, and the effects of these technologies on the quality and safety of food products. His current research in Lund’s group is to investigate the application of innovative enzymes to increase the stability of dairy protein aggregates.

His research interest is to design tailor-made protein hydrocolloids by using bio- and physico-chemical aspects to better control food- (e.g. foam, emulsion and gelation) and bio- (e.g. antioxidant, ACE-inhibitory, anti-cancerous activity) functionality of novel protein ingredients for food and pharmaceutical applications. His current research at Lund’s group focuses on understanding a triangle relationship between enzymatic protein modification at molecular level, the mesoscale physical properties and food functionality of enzymatically-fabricated (milk) protein structures.  

Cristian De GobbaAssistant Professor, Cristian De Gobba obtained his MsC in Functional Genomics from University of Trieste (UniTs, Italy) in 2007. Until 2010 he worked as research assistant on characterization of antimicrobial peptides both in UniTs and Novozymes (DK) using different chromatographic techniques. Right after Cristian was enrolled as PhD student in the department of Food Science at Copenhagen University (KU) where he obtained the PhD degree in 2014. He worked mainly on production, separation and characterization of bioactive peptides from milk proteins using novel enzymes. Cristian continued working at KU as post doc within different projects, mainly in production and characterization of porcine hemoglobin hydrolysates using commercial proteases. Currently he is studying the interactions between milk proteins and sugars using surface plasmon resonance.

Key analytical techniques: liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS), HPLC, FPLC, various enzymatic assays, SPR.

Anne Nordmark MurmannPhD student, Anne Nordmark Murmann graduated as MSc in Food Science and Technology from University of Copenhagen in 2013. Currently PhD student investigating new defence systems against beer oxidation, with focus on the antioxidative role of protein-derived thiols in beer. The aim of her research is to increase the flavor stability of beer, which is of great significance to the brewing industry.

Analytical techniques include: Thiol and sulfite quantification by derivatization with ThioGlo 1 followed by HPLC separation and fluorescence detection, protein characterization by SDS-PAGE.   

Line Ravn NielsenPhD student, Line Ravn Nielsen received her MSc degree in Food Science and Technology from KU in 2011, and has worked at Arla Foods Ingredients until now. In 2015 Line started as PhD student at Arla Foods Ingredients and Department of Food Science working with aggregation of whey-based protein ingredients. These ingredients are used as functional and nutritional components in various food products, such as low-fat yoghurt and ice-cream and high-protein sports drinks.

Her PhD work includes studies on controlling the aggregation process for improvement of protein functionality and nutritional value.

Asraf ZainudinPhD student, Asraf Zainudin is focusing on protein oxidation of meat-based products, its impact on nutritional quality and application of plant polyphenols in meat products. Basically, his PhD project involves identification and quantification of protein oxidation products and cross-linked protein in meat model systems and meat samples (poultry based) using HPLC, SDS-PAGE and Fluorescence spectrophotometry methods. This study will also include investigation on the impact of these oxidation products on digestibility rate and how to inhibit the formation of oxidation products by plant polyphenols extracts.

Findings from this research shall benefit the meat industry by improving the quality of the meat in terms of nutritional, sensory, and appearance quality. Besides that, the findings will increase the commercial value of natural antioxidants derived from plant extract/local herbs.

Hongkai ZhuPhD student, Hongkai Zhu obtained his MSc degree in tea science from Huazhong Agricultural University and in his MSc thesis he investigated the effect of qingzhuan tea on α-glucosidase and 3T3-L1 preadipocyte. He was affiliated with the Tea Research Institute, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences from June 2012 to Sep 2015, where he worked on how to process high quality teas and what the effective compounds is for flavor and health.

His PhD project is to study the effect of inhibition of Maillard reactions (i.e. protein glycation) in foods by plant polyphenols.

Siti Suriani ArsadPhD student, Siti Suriani Arsad received her MSc degree in Nutritional Sciences from University Putra Malaysia in 2013. Her current research is to establish how specific protein-phenol compounds, which are formed during food processing, are absorbed in the body and their effect on metabolic processes and immune response.

Her research includes quantification of protein-phenol compounds in different processed food products and identification of the extent of phenol-mediated cross-linking of proteins in processed foods. This research will also include in vivo study and in vitro study to examine metabolic and immunological functions as well as gut microbiota.

Zichen ZhaoPhD student, Zichen Zhao, received her Msc degree in Food Science and Technology from KU in 2016. Her PhD project is focused on investigating photo-oxidation of proteins in food products such as milk and milk products. The purpose for her research is to find out how light exposure influences protein oxidation and how protein oxidation changes the functional and biological activity of proteins. Plant polyphenols will also be investigated for their effect on controlling photo-oxidation of proteins.

Wei ZhangPhD student, Wei Zhang obtained his master degree in food science and nutritional engineering from China Agriculture University in 2015. His current PhD project at KU focuses on determining whether a reduction in the concentrations of lactose and galactose, and a concomitant increase in galacto-oligosaccharides (GOS), inhibits Maillard reaction pathways and prevents the accumulation of Advanced Glycation Endproducts (AGEs) in UltraHigh Temperature (UHT) processed milk.

His research involves what occurs in the GOS-enriched UHT milk during storage using different analytical methods, such as high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), dynamic headspace gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS), SDS-PAGE, fluorescence spectrophotometry, and sensorial descriptive analysis. His research will provide detailed fundamental knowledge about novel strategies for limiting Maillard reactions and accumulation of AGEs in UHT milk, and improve the functional and nutritional quality of lactose reduced UHT milk which is of particular importance for dairy consumers in regions such as China, South America and Europe.

Khadija WaqarPhD student, Khadija Waqar got her BSc (Biochemistry) and MPhil (Biological Sciences, 2014-2015) degrees from University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan. She also worked as a Research Officer in School of Biological Sciences, University of the Punjab, Lahore. Her PhD work is focused upon inhibition of Maillard reactions in processed foods. Plan polyphenols inhibit Maillard reactions in foods and are considered as natural food ingredients, but they also modify food proteins. The current studies will investigate bioavailability of these protein-polyphenol adducts through various chemical and biomedical approaches.