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DAA: Liangli (Lucy) Yu

Liangli (Lucy) Yu

College Park,, MD | Distinguished Ag Alumni: 2012

Liangli (Lucy) Yu’s career has been relatively brief by the standards of academia — a mere 12 years have elapsed since she completed her doctorate at Purdue. She has crammed that period full of achievement, distinguishing herself at two academic institutions, publishing prolifically, attracting grant funds, training graduate students, and receiving prestigious awards. Yu was born in Shanghai, lived in Inter-Mongolia until age 13, and attended high school and college in Jiangsu province on the east coast of China. She has very tight connections with several Chinese institutions, including having a research laboratory in the Center for Food Safety and Human Nutrition at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a top public research institution. At the University of Maryland, Yu studies nutraceuticals and functional foods. “Overall, we would like to improve foods to improve human health,” she explains. “Everybody eats. Food is the best approach to reduce the risk of chronic human diseases.” Her exceptional publication record includes editing or co-editing two books: Wheat Antioxidants and Cereals and Pulses: Nutraceutical Properties and Health Benefits. She has written 13 book chapters and more than 100 research articles. She holds U.S. and European patents for the enzymatic modification of psyllium and has three U.S. patents pending. Several teaching awards have recognized Yu’s ability to create an interactive atmosphere: “I like to use many examples related to our daily life to explain the food chemistry concepts,” she says. She gives her undergraduate students opportunities for research, and several have published and received patents with her. She has trained six doctoral and five master’s degree graduates in food science, and one master’s degree graduate in nutrition. Her graduate students have landed positions at top-ranked universities across the country. She currently has nine Ph.D. students in food science. Her own 22-year-old son is a first-year doctoral student in chemistry at Harvard University. Away from the classroom and lab, she enjoys cooking, travel, and outdoor activities