Cereal Lab Guelph

Our Lab at a Glance

Our young and dynamic team strives to gain basic insight into the properties of cereal biopolymers in order to not only fundamentally understand, but also to fully unlock their value in cereal processing and nanotechnology applications.

The Cereal Lab is located in the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph, embedded in an environment that enables and promotes inter-disciplinary, team-based approaches to problem solving and advancing innovation covering the entire wheat value chain.


With consumer demand for gluten free bakery products increasing due to concerns about adverse health effects of gluten, the Cereal Lab is researching gluten structures and interactions in baked products to understand and be able to mimic the unique gluten structure to develop better gluten free breads. The Cereal Lab also focuses on the development of nanoscale structures using cereal biopolymers. These systems are of interest as encapsulation vehicles to stabilize water soluble vitamins and colourants in complex food matrices and during processing, and to create customizable food structures and properties. The design and characterization of biopolymer-based nano- and microstructures can revolutionize the food sector with regard to making more nutritious food and improving overall food quality and safety.


Teaching is crucial to train the next generation to not only gain better insights into the technological aspects of food processing and to better understand the chemistry and physics of food systems but also to inform/educate a wider public as experts in the field. Food products, by their very nature, are highly complex systems that are built of a variety of different biopolymers (like proteins and carbohydrates), water and lipids. These molecules all interact in their unique way and as such build food structure. At the Department of Food Science, a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses are offered that highlight the complexity of different food products.


Outreach to the community is a crucial aspect of the daily activities at the Cereal Lab in Guelph. Our outreach activities vary from on-site activities for high school students, over development of a Cereal Educational Box and the organization of an annual Cereal Outreach Event to the creation of short courses tailored towards our Industry partners.


03-06-24 – LCMS installation day! We are excited to extend our research capabilities with this great piece of instrumentation! Thank you to the companies and organizations that made this possible!

07-06-23 – Navneet Navneet has been this year’s recipient of the prestigious CIFST Student Leadership Award. This award is presented to a student member who has demonstrated leadership and contribution to the CIFST enterprise. Congratulations on this big achievement!

03-05-23 – Jessica Chang has been winning several 3MT competitions over the past months. She came out first in our Department and College/OAC competitions and won a very competitive 2nd place in the University-wide competition. If you are interested to watch Jessica’s presentation, you can find it here.

14-07-22 – Dr. Wei Cao and Dr. Reihane Abdi are collecting X-ray images of sprouted wheat at CLS this week! Stay tuned for some nice pictures on this website!

07-07-22 – Navneet, PhD student from Cereal Lab won third prize in Young researcher pitch competition at the 11th International Conference on High Pressure Bioscience and Biotechnology (HPBB2022), held in University of Copenhagen, Denmark, from July 5-8, 2022! She also presented her research titled “High pressure processing – A novel approach to unravel the potential of dry beans as a functional bakery ingredient” as an oral presentation.

14-06-22 – Open MSc position on ‘chemical food safety in a climate change context’. Check out the details here!

01/03-06-22 – Several great presentations were given by lab members on the Annual Symposium of CIFST followed by a lab tour highlighting some of our state-of-the-art instruments (e.g. CRM) and highlighting the great work by the undergraduate and graduate team members!

28-04-22 – Congratulations to Nirmala Prasadi on the successful defence of her PhD thesis ‘Unraveling the effect of dietary fibre on biopolymer structures and interactions in (frozen) dough products’. This project has certainly opened up some new research and product development opportunities! Thanks for all the hard work!

18-01-2022 – We are organizing our fourth Cereal Outreach Event! This year, the event is again organized as a virtual event, but it is still going to be stuffed with exciting research. If you are interested in learning more send us an e-mail!

06-12-2021 – Alyssa Francavilla did a great job defending her MSc thesis ‘Anthocyanins in purple and blue wheat varieties: characterization and stability upon processing’! We are excited to announce that Alyssa is going to stick around a bit longer to also complete her PhD!

02-12-2021 – Congratulations to Mahta Moraveji! She successfully defended her MSc thesis ‘Impact of deamidation on the physicochemical properties and air-water interfacial behaviour of gliadin nanoparticles!’

18-11-2021 – Congratulations to Reihane Abdi for winning the best paper award given by the Protein Division of the Cereals & Grains Association on the C&E meeting 2021!

15-11-2021 – Congratulations to Azin Sadat who won the Science Exposed 2021 Jury Prize at the NSERC-CRSNG image contest!

01-03-2021 – Our confocal Raman microscope has been installed! We are very excited about this new piece of equipment as it will allow non-destructive chemical depth profiling and analysis of distribution and microstructure of ingredients in complex food systems!

10-01-2021 – We are happy to announce that Dr. Mauricio Espinal-Ruiz joined our research group. His research will focus on the design of acrylamide mitigation strategies in bakery products.

07/14-12-2020 – On December 7 and December 14, the research team is organizing its third Cereal Outreach Event. This year, the event is organized as two virtual sessions, but it is still filled with exciting research brought to you by the researchers through both oral and poster presentations! Interested in attending and requiring more information? Send us an e-mail!

13-11-2020 – Congratulations to Azin Sadat for winning the paper award/ oral presentation award given by the Protein Division of the Cereals & Grains Association on the C&E meeting 2020!

Six researchers from our group are going to present their work on the virtual C&E meeting 2020. Nirmala Prasadi VP, Alyssa Francavilla, Wei Cao, Reihaneh Abdi and Maryam Moraveji will be presenting their posters. Azin Sadat will be giving an oral presentation of her work on non-invasive techniques to study cereal systems.

03-09-2020 – Joshua Salamun, MSc student in the Cereal Lab, successfully defended his MSc thesis entitled ‘Prolamin proteins as building blocks for food-grade anthocyanin encapsulation systems‘ on September 3rd! Congratulations Joshua!

Azin Sadat won the second place in the ‘student poster competition’ of the protein division at the Annual IFT meeting (2020 edition) with her poster presentation entitled ‘Vibrational and fluorescence spectroscopy to study gluten and zein interactions in complex cereal systems‘.

27-07-2020 – Amanda Cameron, MSc student in the Cereal Lab, has successfully defended her MSc thesis entitled ‘Effect of temperature-relative humidity treatments on the physicochemical and functional properties of egg white protein powders‘ on July 27th. Congratulations Amanda!

Several Cereal Lab members presented their work on the Annual IFT Meeting, this year organized as a virtual conference from July 11 till July 14 2020. Alyssa Francavilla presented her poster entitled ‘Determination of anthocyanin content of purple and blue wheat using fluorescence spectroscopy and HPLC‘. Joshua Salamun presented his poster entitled ‘Understanding interactions between anthocyanins and prolamins through fluorescence quenching experiments‘. Azin Sadat presented her e-poster entitled ‘Vibrational and fluorescence spectroscopy to study gluten and zein interactions in complex cereal systems‘. Iris Joye gave a talk in the session on the ‘Improvement of protein functionality by protein glycation using the Maillard reaction’. Her presentation was about ‘Coating of zein particles with caseinate-dextrin conjugates to improve the physical stability of the particle suspension‘.