Skip to main content

Gabriel Harris PhD

Associate Professor, Undergraduate Coordinator of Food Science

Schaub Food Science Building 116B

Publications

View all publications 

Grants

Date: 05/01/18 - 4/30/22
Amount: $278,799.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

There is an urgent need for food safety professionals who can effectively teach, train, and influence food safety behaviors across food manufacturing, retail, foodservice, and higher education settings. In considering the broader agricultural challenge of providing enough food to feed a rapidly increasing world population, it is essential that we have a workforce equipped with the appropriate skills and behaviors necessary to improve the safety, quality and sustainability of our food supply chain. However, many existing education and training programs disseminate knowledge but do not provide sufficient skills or influence attitudes, social norms or self-efficacies to the extent that they impact skills development and actual food safety behaviors. This is partly due to the fact that it is often too cost prohibitive for instructors to expose students to the real-world applications of their subject matter and facilitate hands-on experiences, as field trips cost significant amounts of time and money and increasingly more food companies are not willing to provide tours of the facilities (due to the food safety risks and also the fact that they are so frequently audited that their time to provide tours is limited). Meanwhile, there is an exciting opportunity for today’s undergraduates to leverage the trending emergence of virtual reality (VR) as an innovative instructional technology for solving these education and training obstacles through the development of case studies in VR. The long term goals of this project are to reduce the number of foodborne illnesses and food recall events in the food industry and improve the the sustainability of the food supply chain by developing future food safety professionals’ abilities to deliver effective training programs. We will recruit eight (8) students into a 10-week Food Science Education Summer Scholars program that develops their abilities to design, develop and evaluate case studies that enhance the effects of existing education and extension curricula on skills development and behavioral objectives for three (3) consecutive years. The objectives of this program are to: Recruit 24 students from across the country to a Food Science Summer Scholars program at NC State University by recruiting eight (8) students from across the country per year for three (3) consecutive years; Develop the Food Science Summer Scholars’ abilities to design, deliver and evaluate education and training interventions (case studies in virtual reality) that prevent foodborne illnesses and food recall events that are attributed to human error; and Create 12 case study lesson plans, implement them into existing education and training curricula and make them available to instructors in higher education who teach food sanitation courses.

Date: 09/27/18 - 3/25/21
Amount: $100,000.00
Funding Agencies: Defense Logistics Agency

This is project, also known as Food Rep, is a follow up (Phase II) of the Soldier Boost project (PINS #83250). The purpose of this project is to convert the nutrient-dense bar prototypes produced in the Soldier Boost project into materials that can be extruded in various sizes, and thus varying calorie/nutrient levels with a 3-D printer. This project furthers the goal of the US military to provide customized nutrition to every service member.

Date: 09/25/20 - 12/31/20
Amount: $60,858.00
Funding Agencies: Universidad Nacional de San Agustin de Arequipa

The PIs will review the curriculum and course syllabi for three of UNSA’s academic programs: Food Science and Technology, Nutrition, and Agronomy. The PIs will provide a complete report that describes the process and final evaluation for each program. Selected NC State Faculty will conduct workshops related to teaching and evaluation good practices.

Date: 02/28/17 - 12/31/18
Amount: $34,000.00
Funding Agencies: Defense Logistics Agency

As a subcontractor for SMRC (Systems & Materials Research Corporation), who is working on a grant from DLA (Defense Logistics Agency), a support arm of the Department of Defense, we will be developing high energy bar prototypes for military use. These bars will be referred to as "Soldier Boost". The purpose of Soldier Boost bars is to provide a high-energy, highly portable, shelf-stable, short-term food resource for warfighters across various theaters of operation. Bar formulation will be high in "healthy fats" in order to provide high calories and to encourage consumption. (One of the greatest issues with food consumption under strenuous military conditions is that MREs and other rations are often "field-stripped", meaning that the less palatable portions are discarded, and the more tasty portions, such as candy, are kept.) Two basic bar prototypes will be produced: one will have a savory flavor and the other will have a sweet flavor. Each flavor will come in caffeinated and non-caffeinated versions, for a total of four prototypes altogether. Caffeine will be added to bars in order to enhance warfighter alertness. Our efforts on this project will be divided into four separate categories: bar composition, bar texture, bar flavor, and shelf stability. Our ultimate goal is to produce four prototype Soldier Boost bars by late November/early December of 2017.

Date: 09/21/11 - 8/31/17
Amount: $2,081,229.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Health & Human Services (DHHS)

This Integrated Food Safety System?s National Food Training Program project addresses the prevention standards, inspection & compliance and federal/state integration in implementation of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). The aim is to strengthen FDA?s acidified food products training and certification program and is based on the principle that one of the critical elements in making the IFSS concept work is ensuring a competent work force doing comparable work at the international, federal, state, territorial and tribal levels. As such there is a need to develop and implement a uniform national standard to ensure that program objectives are met and supports such integration. Therefore, this project will identify the needs and those entities that will work in cooperation with FDA and other regulatory and public health partners to reach the goal of ensuring a competent workforce in acidified food products inspection and compliance. Specifically, this project will focus on the design, development, delivery, dissemination, and maintenance of a training and certification program for acidified food products that is consistent with FDA?s Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards (MFRPS). This project will emphasis operational partnerships, capacity building and training in the inspection of acidified food products for small food manufacturers according to the needs of the FDA and its public health counterparts. The project will develop a risk-based three-tier curriculum in basic food inspection training; advanced food inspection training specialized for acidified foods; and, quality assurance (inspection audit) training. Our approach is based on NC State University?s food safety certificate programs and the successful training & education program developed by the National Seafood HACCP Alliance with the Association of Food and Drug Officials (AFDO) and in conjunction with the International Food Protection Training Institute (IFPTI).

Date: 12/01/11 - 11/30/16
Amount: $495,038.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

Major food processors have recently had an interest in improving the quality of existing particulate foods and also developing a new line of particulate foods ? both acid and low-acid. The existing line of particulate products that have been a target include low-acid soups containing large vegetable pieces of different sizes and shapes. The goal for these types of products is to develop a new process (with process temperatures between 120 °C and 140 °C) that can overcome the inherent quality losses associated with slow heat transfer rates during canning. The new line of products that are being developed include high acid fruit juices containing large fruit pieces (with process temperatures between 90 °C and 100 °C). The goal for these types of products is to deliver rapid and uniform heat treatment to the cold spot within the product (usually associated with the center of fast-moving and slow-heating particles) and to validate the process. Our past work in the area of continuous flow microwave processing involved research, development, and commercialization of the first microwave-processed low-acid product (sweetpotato puree) to receive a no-objection letter from FDA. Since then, we have made modifications to the system to extend the technology from viscous foods to particulate foods. The goals of this project are to develop an understanding of the relative rates of heating of the solid and liquid fractions in a particulate product that has constituents of different physical, thermal, and dielectric properties and to engineer the system and process parameters to maximize the nutrient retention and texture/integrity of the particulates. The specific goals of this project are to determine the temperatures at various points within the products under consideration for different process conditions, minimize the temperature differences, optimize the system & process parameters to produce a high quality (in terms of nutrient retention and texture) product, and validate the process to ensure product safety. We will determine the physical, thermal, and dielectric properties of the liquid and particulate phases of the products under consideration. Based on this, we will fabricate our validation tools (shielded hollow plastic particles of pre-determined wall thickness containing magnetic, chemical, and microbiological implants) and also determine the initial test conditions (namely, product flow rate, set-point temperature for the fluid, and microwave power level). Experiments will be conducted on a small-scale system under recirculation conditions and then on the large scale system without recirculation. Once the system and process parameters are optimized, we will validate the process using our process validation tools. Based on the interest of major food processors in this technology and the potential success of this project, we expect that the continuous flow microwave technology will be commercialized for producing shelf-stable acid and low-acid particulate foods in the near future.

Date: 12/05/14 - 3/31/16
Amount: $102,130.00
Funding Agencies: US Food & Drug Administration

The overall objective of this study is to generate laboratory data that estimates the drug concentrations in finished dairy products relative to concentrations in raw milk based on product composition (i.e., fat, protein, and moisture) and processing history. Specifically, this research will provide data on the selective binding of drug residues to support FDA’s risk assessment efforts by addressing two key questions: If veterinary drug residues are present in raw milk, what is the fate of these residues during processing/manufacturing of various milk products (i.e., how do the drug residues partition in the different milk phases and in which milk products would these drug residues be concentrated beyond concentrations present in raw milk)? If present in bulk-tank milk, which veterinary drug residues have the greatest potential for concentration during processing of dairy products? This study will provide FDA with the experimental data and results to support the evaluation of the potential impact of processing on veterinary drug residues (if present) in milk.

Date: 01/01/14 - 12/31/15
Amount: $33,255.00
Funding Agencies: Dairy Management, Inc.

With a national adult obesity rate of 20%, more Americans now rely on convenient, healthy, and satisfying foods to help control hunger and limit caloric intake. Cocoa polyphenols have been demonstrated to decrease fat accumulation and to improve cardiovascular health. Whey proteins have been reported to increase satiety and improve body composition. Thus, a combination of cocoa and whey proteins has the potential to control hunger and promote weight loss. To test this hypothesis, we propose to formulate a series of “super” chocolate-whey protein beverages that provide high levels of quality protein and/or bioactive cocoa polyphenolics. During a short-term clinical trial, panelists will consume each beverage on different days. In the hours following consumption, we will collect panelist blood samples and quantify the effects of the beverage ingredients upon blood glucose levels and biological markers of satiety and fat metabolism (leptin, adiponectin, and GLP-1). This study aims to isolate the effects of cocoa and whey proteins upon satiety and weight management.

Date: 11/15/09 - 11/30/14
Amount: $999,992.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA)

Eight NC universities collaborated with industry partners to create the new North Carolina Research Campus (NCRC; located in Kannapolis, NC) dedicated to the transdisciplinary mission of advancing human health through improved nutrition. This proposal aims to launch the professional careers of 20 graduate students to be named "Kannapolis Scholars". Newly recruited from the eight campuses, Scholars will be immersed into a rich transdisciplinary training environment at the NCRC that includes advanced instrumentation such as high-throughput sequencing, mass spectrometry, laser imaging and world-class, high-resolution NMR and techniques spanning from molecular-cellular to plant & animal models to human clinical studies. Students will be mentored by transdisciplinary graduate committees drawn from 30 faculty spread among the eight participating universities. Industry partners will add a spirit of entrepreneurism to the training. The program will provide a stipend to cover the Scholars' first 15-months of graduate study, including tandem 10-week summer sessions on the NCRC that flank the first year of coursework undertaken on their respective home campuses. Pedagogical elements designed to span the subject matter from "the field to the fork" will enrich Scholar training and will school them in developing research proposals and work plans that are problem-based and that bridge traditional disciplines (eg., food science versus nutritional sciences, etc.). Accordingly, this proposal precisely addresses all elements within the joint education priority co-sponsored by the Bioactive Food Components for Optimal Health and the Improving Food Quality and Value programs.

Date: 08/01/13 - 5/31/14
Amount: $12,510.00
Funding Agencies: US Dept. of Agriculture - National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA)

This conference aligns with funding priorities in two programs: 1) Function and Efficacy of Nutrients, A1341; and 2) Improving Food Quality, A1361. We propose a one-day symposium and research conference at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis, NC in August of 2013. This conference would be the third in the series of Kannapolis Scholar conferences and would be a renewal of the conference grant funded in 2012. This transdisciplinary conference would bring students, faculty, government, industry and community stakeholders together to discuss the latest research on the effects of functional foods and bioactive components on aging. The conference would cover four topics specifically aligned with the Function and Efficacy of Nutrients priority: 1) Epigenetic Effects of Early Nutrition on Aging; 2) Midlife Nutritional Interventions- When is it Too Late for Good Nutrition?; 3) Nutrition and Aging- What Age-Related Conditions Benefit Most from Good Nutrition? The fourth scheduled topic, Quality Matters: Delivering Anti-Aging Nutrition is aligned with the Improving Food Quality priority. A group of graduate students (named as Kannapolis Scholars), funded by a USDA-AFRI training grant, will host the events. The goal is to foster a creative transdisciplinary exchange among conference attendees. We plan to broadcast this conference as a webinar in collaboration with ASN to capture a national and international audience. We plan to use ?Clicker? technology to gather the responses of face-to-face attendees, while an online video chat forum and survey will allow us to interact with online attendees.


View all grants