Speakers

Taylor C. Wallace, PhD, CFS, FACN

Taylor C. Wallace, PhD, CFS, FACN, is Principal and CEO at the Think Healthy Group and an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Nutrition and Food Studies at George Mason University. His academic research interests are in the area of nutritional interventions to promote health and prevent the onset of chronic disease. Dr. Wallace has a PhD an MS in Food Science and Nutrition from The Ohio State University and a BS in Food Science from the University of Kentucky. He operates the popular food and nutrition blog, www.DrTaylorWallace.com, is co-host of the weekly radio show, Risky Behavior™, and a regular guest commentator in the mainstream media, regularly seen on NBC4 Washington and the Dr. Oz Show. He is a fellow of the American College of Nutrition and is the 2015 recipient of the Charles A. Regus Award, given by the American College of Nutrition for original research and innovation in the field of nutrition. Dr. Wallace is a Senior Fellow of the Center for Magnesium Education & Research, the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of the Dietary Supplements, Deputy Editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, the editor of six academic textbooks, author of over 50 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, and author of the cookbook, Sizzling Science.

Tom Vierhile, Innova Market Insights

Tom Vierhile is VP of Strategic Insights North America for Netherlands-based Innova Market Insights and has 20+ years of experience in packaged goods reporting and analysis. Based in Fairport, New York, he is a new product marketing expert and has been quoted by Bloomberg, Ad Age, The Wall Street Journal, and NPR.

Tom has given presentations on new product trends at conferences in the U.S., Europe, Asia, and South America. A regular contributor to Prepared Foods magazine, Tom has a bachelor's degree in marketing from St. Bonaventure University and an MBA from the State University of New York at Buffalo.

William K. Hallman, PhD of Department of Human Ecology, Rutgers University

Dr. William K. Hallman is a Professor and the Chair of the Department of Human Ecology, and is a member of the graduate faculties of Nutritional Sciences, Psychology, and Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. He is also a Fellow of the Society for Risk Analysis, and a Distinguished Research Fellow at the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania.

An experimental psychologist whose research focuses on consumer perceptions and communications related to food, he has published extensively on issues of food safety and food insecurity, food choices, health and sustainability claims, and other food labeling issues. He has particular expertise on consumer perceptions of new food technologies including biotechnology, gene editing, nanotechnology, animal cloning, and cell-based meat, poultry, and seafood.

Dr. Hallman has served as the Director of the Rutgers Food Policy Institute and as Chair of the FDA’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee. He currently serves as a member of several committees of the US National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine, including the Standing Committee on Advancing Science Communication.

Thomas Hartung, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

Thomas Hartung, MD PhD, is the Doerenkamp-Zbinden-Chair for Evidence-based Toxicology in the Department of Environmental Health and Engineering at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, with a joint appointment at the Whiting School of Engineering. He also holds a joint appointment for Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School. He is adjunct affiliate professor at Georgetown University, Washington D.C.. In addition, he holds a joint appointment as Professor for Pharmacology and Toxicology at University of Konstanz, Germany; he also is Director of Centers for Alternatives to Animal Testing (CAAT) of both universities. CAAT hosts the secretariat of the Evidence-based Toxicology Collaboration and manages collaborative programs on Good Read-Across Practice, Good Cell Culture Practice, Green Toxicology, Developmental Neurotoxicity, Developmental Immunotoxicity, Microphysiological Systems and Refinement. As PI, he headed the Human Toxome project funded as an NIH Transformative Research Grant and the series of annual Microphysiological Systems World Summits starting in 2022 by almost 50 organizations. He is Chief Editor of Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence. He is the former Head of the European Commission’s Center for the Validation of Alternative Methods (ECVAM), Ispra, Italy, and has authored more than 600 scientific publications (h-index 102). His toxicology classes on COURSERA had more than 14,000 active learners.

Eric Schwartz, PhD Senior Scientist I, for the Food Chemicals Codex

Eric joined the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) in March of 2020. Prior to working at FCC, Eric worked as a Senior Scientist at the Flavor Research and Education Center (FREC) at the Ohio State University Department of Food Science and Technology where his research involved method development, isolation, and characterization of flavor active compounds. Eric received his doctorate degree in medicinal chemistry and pharmacognosy at the Ohio State University where his research was focused on the synthesis and optimization of bioactive natural products. In his current role at FCC, he serves as a scientific liaison between the USP Food Ingredients Expert Committee (FIEC) and FCC staff to usher standards through the standard setting process. He also serves as coordinator of the Foods lab projects and staff lead to the FCC Dietary Proteins Expert Panel.

Tongtong Xu, PhD Senior Scientist II, for the Food Chemicals Codex

Tongtong is a Senior Scientist supporting the Food Chemicals Codex (FCC) managing development and modernization of FCC standards for food ingredients, as well as the development of general tests detecting potential adulterants in vulnerable food ingredients. She leads the High Value Food Oil Expert Panel to develop new FCC standards for fats and oils. Tongtong formerly worked at the American Beverage Association monitoring the research landscape of the relevant ingredient that may potentially impact the beverage industry. Before that, Tongtong worked in FDA evaluating the ingredients generally recognized as safe for their intended use in animal foods. She has a background in food science with more than 9 years of experience in the area of food ingredient safety, nutrition, and food additive regulations.

Dr. Danica E. DeGroot, Toxicologist, Office of Food Additive Safety in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, U.S. Food and Drug Administration

Dr. Danica E. DeGroot is a toxicologist in the Office of Food Additive Safety in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration where she has expertise in reviewing GRAS notifications and color additive petitions. Dr. DeGroot graduated summa cum laude with a baccalaureate degree in Environmental Health from Colorado State University and received her PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology from the University of California – Davis. Following completion of her PhD, Dr. DeGroot joined the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as a postdoctoral fellow. At EPA, she worked in the National Center for Computational Toxicology (now the Center for Computational Toxicology and Exposure) on in vitro assay design and development in support of the ToxCast program. Specifically, Dr. DeGroot worked on two novel methods for retrofitting existing in vitro assays with metabolic competence in order to improve predictive capacity for regulatory applications. Dr. DeGroot maintains a strong interest in alternative methods and their role in supporting regulatory decisions in food safety assessments through participation in the Society of Toxicology and other scientific working groups.

Angeliki Vlachou, Food Safety Officer, Food Systems and Food Safety Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Angeliki Vlachou is a Food Safety Officer in the Food Systems and Food Safety Division of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), since August 2021. She works on provision of Scientific Advice for chemicals in food.

Angeliki has more than 10 year of experience in scientific, technical and regulatory issues in the food safety filed. Angeliki served the European Food Safety Authority for one year contributing to the work of the Scientific Assessment Support Unit. Consequently, Angeliki worked for the European trade association of the food industry focusing on policy and advocacy related to food safety topics.

Angeliki holds an integrated MSc degree on Agricultural Engineering with a specialisation on Food Science and Nutrition (Agricultural University of Athens, Greece) and a second master’s degree on Food Safety from Wageningen University, the Netherlands.

Ricky Cassini, Co-Founder and CEO, Michroma

Ricky Cassini is the Co-Founder and CEO of Michroma 🍄🧬🌈. Michroma was born to create innovative ingredients for consumers, the planet, and food companies. Urged by his entrepreneurial essence, he created visionary startups with a positive environmental impact. He is an Indiebio alumni and was selected as Young Founder of Westerwelle Foundation. Prior to founding Michroma in 2019, Ricky was also a Strategy Consultant for multinational companies and served as Professor of Operations and Logistics at Austral University. He holds a degree in Business Administration and a postgraduate degree in Industrial Management.

Jennifer Elegbede, PhD, Lycored Corp

Dr. Jennifer Elegbede serves as the Global Food & Health Applications Manager at Lycored, a global leader in natural lycopene-based colors and taste-enhancing ingredients for the food industry. In her current role she is responsible for managing the application of Lycored’s entire product portfolio of health, color and taste ingredients. She also oversees the operation of both the US and Swiss based applications labs.

Elegbede’s career stretches the globe as she has worked with food companies in East Africa to achieve country specific food certifications. She has more than 10 years of global B2C and B2B food industry experience working with such companies as Kellogg’s—delivering pipeline research and innovative product solutions and recently Innophos—responsible for managing ingredient solutions in bakery and plant-based food applications.

Dr. Deepti Dabas, ADM

Dr. Deepti Dabas is currently working as Principal Scientist at ADM. She has extensive industry experience in product development, stability improvement and performance enhancement of pigments. She is passionate about studying chemistry and degradation pattern of pigments along with their interaction with other pigment and non-pigment ingredients. She loves to successfully apply natural colorants and other suitable ingredients in different applications like meat alternatives, confections and other processed foods. As an expert in scientific and regulatory issues around colors, she has been involved with IACM in different capacities including Natural Color Committee co-chair and now co-chair of the Natural Color Science Advisory Board. To her credit, she has published multiple publications in peer reviewed journals on various topics including natural colors, bio-ingredients and their processing and applications.

Her PhD was in natural color development from avocado seed where she worked on extracting and identifying natural color compounds from colored avocado seed along with studying their antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.

Joanna R. Drake

Ms. Drake serves as General Counsel to the International Association of Color Manufacturers. She leverages her 15 years of experience in the food and food ingredient industries and her extensive experience navigating complex regulatory and legal challenges and opportunities with respect to product innovation, food safety, labeling, trade and other compliance matters involving federal agencies including the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, the Federal Trade Commission and the US International Trade Commission to help the color industry succeed. Ms. Drake is also an experienced public speaker and co-author on multiple publications. Prior to joining Verto Legal Solutions nine years ago, Ms. Drake served on the regulatory team and then as Assistant Counsel to a multi-national flavor and food ingredient company. In addition to her Juris Doctor, Ms. Drake also holds a Master of Arts in Applied Economics.