Mario Ferruzzi, Ph.D., has been appointed director of the Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center (ACNC) and professor and chief of the Developmental Nutrition Section of the Department of Pediatrics in the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Medicine. He will join UAMS and Arkansas Children’s Sept. 1.
Ferruzzi is currently the David H. Murdoch Distinguished Professor in the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University. His research centers on identifying food science strategies that contribute to the development of nutritional products that prevent chronic disease and enhance the quality of life for populations around the world.
The ACNC is a national human nutrition research center established as a partnership between Arkansas Children’s and the USDA-Agricultural Research Service, in collaboration with the Arkansas Children’s Research Institute (ACRI) and UAMS. Since its founding in 1994, the ACNC has become a premier research venue for the study of maternal-child health and early childhood development.
“The mission of the ACNC is to conduct cutting edge research to understand how maternal-child nutrition and physical activity optimize health and development,” Interim Pediatrics Chair Renee A. Bornemeier, M.D., said in an announcement to faculty welcoming Ferruzzi on behalf of the department and ACRI President Pete Mourani, M.D. “We look forward to what is ahead for the ACNC under the leadership of Dr. Ferruzzi combined with the excellent research contributions from our faculty.”
Ferruzzi’s research focuses on characterization of plant foods, exploring chemistries and functionalities of bioactive phytochemicals and micronutrients and how phytochemicals and micronutrients are impacted from food formulation and processing. His efforts have received consistent research support from federal, foundational and industry sources. He is also known for significant international food and nutrition research collaborations with leading academic and government research centers and institutions in Italy, Kenya, Malawi, Niger, Senegal and South Africa.
Ferruzzi received his undergraduate degree in chemistry at Duke University and his master’s and doctorate degrees in food science and nutrition at the Ohio State University. Ferruzzi began his career as a research scientist with Nestle Research & Development in Marysville, Ohio, and Lausanne, Switzerland, working in the areas of coffee, tea and nutritional product innovations. In 2004, he joined the faculty of Purdue University as a joint hire between the departments of Food Science and Foods & Nutrition. In 2016, he was recruited to North Carolina State University and the Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Science, moving his program to the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University, at the North Carolina Research Campus in Kannapolis. He is a professional member of the Institute of Food Technologists, the American Society for Nutrition, the American Chemical Society and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry.