Ask a PhD

Have you ever wondered how getting a PhD might impact your career? Come check out our panel discussion with entrepreneurs, professors, and industry professionals who all made the choice to get their PhD and ask them questions about how that decision impacted their careers!

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Dr. Jagpinder Brar:

After completing his doctoral studies in Purdue University's Food Science program, Dr. Brar joined the food industry and has worked at Conagra, Blue Marble, and is currently working with Kellogg's frozen Eggo breakfast team. In addition to new product development and product roll out, Dr. Brar continues to publish cutting edge research in food safety and predictive microbiology. We are excited to learn more about how his doctoral degree influences his ability to balance his drive to improve food safety while also developing new products for one of the United States' top food manufacturing companies

Dr. Lin Carson:

Dr. Carson graduated with her PhD from Kansas State University's department of Grain Science in 2002, was working in Technical Services in the Baking industry, and is now CEO of BAKERpedia. BAKERpedia is the internet's foremost source of information on baking ingredient functionality, processing, and all things important to the baking industry. Since its inception as a Wikipedia-style resource for the industrial baking industry, BAKERpedia has grown into a diverse organization offering digital knowledge products, producing one of the top podcasts for the baking industry "Baked In Science", sharing information on social channels and the docuseries, Scale UP. While getting to this point wasn't easy, BAKERpedia is now a force in the industry, and we are excited to learn about how Dr. Carson's doctoral degree helped her get to where she is now.

Dr. Owen Jones:

Dr. Jones is an Associate Professor at Purdue University who graduated with his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst prior to a position as a postdoctoral researcher in Zurich. Dr. Jones now has more than 50 publications and over 2600 citations on work relating to the functional properties and interactions of protein, carbohydrates, and lipids in complex food systems. This is done using a combination of materials characterization techniques and modeling these interactions. While a PhD is a clear prerequisite to working as a university professor, we are interested to gain Dr. Jones' perspective on how to navigate the often complex web of finding postdoctoral positions, landing your first university faculty position, and developing your resume to achieve tenure. 

Harrison Helmick

PhD Student, Purdue University

I am a graduate student pursuing a PhD at Purdue University in the department of food science. Under the direction of Dr. Jozef Kokini, I work to improve the functionality of pea protein, developing understanding through a bioinformatic and structure function perspective. This is done through the use of tools such as SWISS MODEL, Chimera, and PyMol, and any code packages are written in Python. Techniques for analysis include FTIR, DSC, DLS, Zeta potential, and SDS-PAGE. Modification techniques include utilizing physical modification levers such as extrusion, heat, shear, and chemical to selectively unfold protein structure. I have also worked with wheat dough rheology and the impact of yeast metabolites on mixing rheology. 
After achieving a PhD, I hope to work in an environment that uses science as the basis of decisions making in order to improve processes and produce the best possible food products. I would always like to keep my lean six sigma skills up to date as well, operating in high performance laboratories that are results and project oriented. 

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