Ph.D. students earn national awards for food safety research

PULLMAN, Wash. – Two doctoral students in biological systems engineering recently earned national first place honors for their Washington State University research.

Hongchao Zhang

Hongchao Zhang researches sterile packaging to prolong food safety and shelf life. His paper won first place in the annual Boyd-Scott Graduate Research Award competition of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. Read more at

Poonam Bajaj

Poonam Bajaj’s research uses pea protein to microencapsulate flaxseed oil as a sustainable way to stabilize preserved food. She won first place in the annual student poster competition for the product development division of the Institute of Food Technologists. Read more at

Both Ph.D. students are advised by Shyam S. Sablani, WSU professor of biological systems engineering.