Arrell Scholar, Human Health and Nutritional Sciences
Erik Dassoff seeks to understand how food processing and formulation alters the digestion of nutrients, and the resulting health impacts. Through his research, he hopes to design food products which can reduce feelings of hunger, improve weight loss outcomes, and reduce cardiometabolic risk factors.Learn more about Arrell Scholarships
“By researching the potential of affordable and sustainable ingredients in health-guided product development, we can transform food systems – providing communities with tasty, safe, and healthy foods.”
Research Interests and Future Goals
Erik is from Klamath Falls, a small town in southern Oregon in the United States. To stay busy, he spent much of his time cooking and playing sports, which combined with his dad’s medical background, led to an interest in foods and nutrition. He received a BSc in Food Science and Technology from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona and an MSc in Food Technology from Wageningen University and Research in The Netherlands. Erik’s specialization was the selective European Master’s in Food Technology program, where he also studied at universities in Paris, France, and in Cork, Ireland. He then completed an industrial thesis at DSM Food Specialties in Delft, The Netherlands.
With his background in industrial-scale food processing, formulation, and flavour, he will now pursue a PhD at the University of Guelph in the Department of Human Health and Nutritional Sciences, under the guidance of his advisor, Dr. Amanda Wright, who serves as the Director of the Human Nutraceutical Research Unit (HNRU).
After completing his degree, Erik’s over-arching goal is to serve as a liaison between the scientific nutrition community, the public, and the food industry. He plans to accomplish this through social entrepreneurship, developing companies and creating food products with direct social, health, and environmental benefits. He is also interested in working with academia and being actively engaged in public communication.
Why become an Arrell Scholar?
Erik chose to study at the University of Guelph because of his desire to integrate disciplines to holistically improve food systems. In collaboration with HNRU, Erik can study the full spectrum of healthy food development – from food technology research to clinical health outcomes. Arrell Food Institute provides the unique opportunity to engage multiple stakeholders in designing solutions to the most pressing challenges in food systems. In addition, he looks forward to some enriching supporting discussions, given the wide knowledge pool at Canada’s food university in sustainability, economics, biotechnology, and several other related fields.