Conferences archive > 2008 > SPEAKERS & ABSTRACTS

Bruce German

Bruce German received his PhD from Cornell University, joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in  1988,  in  1997  was  named  the  first  John  E.  Kinsella  Endowed  Chair  in Food,  Nutrition  and  Health  and  is currently  professor,  at  University  of  California,  Davis  and  serves  as  senior  scientific  advisor  at  the  Nestlé Research Center in Lausanne  Switzerland and head of the Scientific Board of Lipomics Technologies Inc  in California.  His  research  interests  include  the  structure  and  function  of  dietary  lipids,  the  role  of  milk 
components in food and health and the application of metabolic assessment to personalizing diet and health. The goal of his research is to build the knowledge necessary to improve human health through superior foods. Research projects  directed to this goal are  studying  how  individual human lipid metabolism responds to the chemical composition and structural organization of foods. Each person has slightly different responses to diet based  on  their  genetics,  their  metabolism  and  their  nutrition  status.  It  is  thus  necessary  to understand  the molecular basis of these differences, how to recognize them and design food strategies to complement them. We are working on analytical strategies to enable individuals to monitor how their body reacts to various foods and  to  modify  their  consumption  to  maintain  good  health.  With  health  targets  established  it  is  the  equally important  task  of  the  research  to  understand  how  to  provide  superior  choices  in  foods  that  integrate  the compositional, structural and nutritional functionalities of biomaterials through bioguided food processes. The model being used of how to proceed is milk, the product of Darwinian selective pressure to produce a food to sustain and promote healthy infant mammals to be healthier. Milk is the only bio-material that has evolved for the purpose of nourishing growing mammals. Survival of offspring exerted a strong selective pressure on the biochemical  evolution  of  lactation  as  a  bioguided  process.  Just  like  evolution  of  any  biological  organism  or system,  the  strong  survive,  which  leads  to  the  appearance  of  new  traits  that  promote  health,  strength  and ultimately survival. This evolutionary logic is the basis of the research program to discover physical, functional and nutritional properties of milk components and to apply these properties as principles to foods. 

Bruce German and colleagues have published more than 200 papers on lipid and food structures, metabolites and functions and patented various applications of fatty-acids as bioactive and immunomodulatory agents.

The Future of Foods in a World of Personalized Health

Public health is advancing from a disease treatment paradigm to disease prevention and personalized health. This shift will impact the health care system and also all aspects of food and agriculture. Health care will profit from a system of personal assessment that measures and predicts health trajectories of individuals as subtle variations in their metabolic, physiologic and immunologic status. The fields of Nutrigenomics and Metabolomics are building a clearer understanding of the biological reality that humans are indeed different in their responses to diet. Health assessment will become an important part of routine care and industries that provide these services will increase in value and will align more closely with the food development industries. The greater information content of personal health will be managed by devices that are similar to those responsible for personal communications, entertainment and finance. Food, drug and lifestyle industries will take advantage of the greater personal knowledge of consumers to provide a wider range of products and services. Consumers will be able to choose alternatives that deliver solutions both deeper into health, i.e. more effective and safer solutions, and wider into more health values, than are currently available. The entire agricultural enterprise will share a coordinated role in improving human health through foods. This will require greater diversity of agricultural commodities, greater flexibility in food processing and greater education of consumers. The ultimate benefits to consumers and to the industries that supply their food products and services will be considerable.

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