Lila, Mary Ann

Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences
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Dr. Mary Ann Lila’s research focuses on the bioactive compounds found in some foods, particularly fruits and vegetables, that confer human health benefits when the food is eaten. The benefits of eating foods and beverages rich in these compounds are well-established, according to Dr. Lila, but the identity and protective mechanisms of the compounds have not been defined in all cases. Dr. Lila’s research is aimed at identifying bioactive compounds and understanding how they work. She is particularly interested in compounds that appear to help counteract chronic disease and promote endurance. The LilaLab looks at food plants not for nutritional or caloric value, but with the goal of discerning the preventative, curative or therapeutic properties hidden in every bite. As a result of Dr. Lila’s efforts to locate and study plants around the world, her research has taken on an international flavor. She has large ongoing research projects in Egypt, Central Asia, Oceania, Mexico and sub-Saharan Africa, and is vice president of the Global Institute for BioExploration (GIBEX). In 1999, Dr. Lila won a Fulbright Senior Scholarship to conduct research and outreach in New Zealand. She travels to New Zealand at least once a year for ongoing research efforts. In addition, Dr. Lila has served as the U.S. correspondent for the International Association of Plant Biotechnology and as president of the Society for In Vitro Biology. She is also a fellow of the society, and served for four years as associate director of the nationally acclaimed Functional Foods for Health Program. In 2010, Dr. Lila was named the first David H. Murdock Distinguished Professor.

  Food Science | Human Nutrition | Plant Bioactives
Country(s) of experience:
  Australia | Ecuador | Greece | Israel | New Zealand | Spain | Zambia | United States | Brazil | United Kingdom |
Type(s) of International Experience:
  Researcher in an international project | Speaker at an international conference | Visiting faculty | Advisor for international students | Host for international faculty | Host for international post-doc
  French | Spanish
  Project on image analysis of betalain-producing plant cell cultures
Year: 1991-1992
Description: UNIL (University of Lausanne) and EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland. Project on image analysis of betalain-producing plant cell cultures. 1991-1992.
Country: Switzerland

  Sabbatical - New Zealand
Year: 1999
Description: Research with Crop & Food Research Ltd and Massey University
Country: New Zealand
Institution: Massey University, New Zealand
  Association of total mineral content and elemental speciation with the healing properties of berries.
07/01/2017 - 06/30/2018
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  Combating global health challenges: an international effort to mitigate food allergy through the development of hypoallergenic edible protein-polyphenol ingredients.
07/05/2017 - 06/30/2018
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  Novel Protein-Polyphenol to Mitigate Food Allergy
08/01/2015 - 07/01/2016
Funding Agency/Sponsor: North Carolina State University
Institutional Partner: University of Adelaide, Australia
  Cost Effective Shelf-stable Delivery of Phytonutrients and Proteins to Infants and Children Using Locally-Available Foods
01/01/2011 - 12/31/2013
Funding Agency/Sponsor: Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF)
Institutional Partner: Rutgers University, USA
  Chatham Fellowship in Medical Botany
01/01/2012 - 12/31/2013
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Institutional Partner: Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador
  Ecosystem Services Modeling to Manage the Emerging Infectious Plant Diseases of Africa.
01/01/2012 - 01/01/2012
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  BioExploration – Novel methodology for the identification of valuable natural products derived from Mediterranean flora.
01/01/2011 - 01/01/2011
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Institutional Partner: Hadassah Academic College, Israel
  Chemical analyses of plants with pharmacological potential registered in the herbarium of the Universidad San Francisco de Quito
01/01/2011 - 01/01/2011
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Institutional Partner: Universidad San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador