Food Science Graduate Student Takes First Place in International Competition

UMass Amherst: News Archive

Food science doctoral student Yanqi “Cookie” Qu, an advisee of associate professor Lili He, was awarded first place and a $10,000 prize in the Millipore Sigma Food & Beverage Safety Award competition held Oct. 22-23 in Darmstadt, Germany.To achieve the honor, Qu “successfully demonstrated contributions in research, education or information transfer while displaying innovative and effective strategies to promote safety in the food and beverage arena,” according to organizers. Burlington-based Millipore Sigma, Merck’s global life science business, was formerly known as Merck Millipore.
His advisor says of Qu’s accomplishment using a technique for detecting molecules called surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS),“We are very proud of Cookie. I would say it is an amazing experience for him. He has made us so proud not only because he won this prestigious award, but also because he has done such an outstanding job on delivering his scientific work on SERS to the industrial world. This should benefit everyone in the SERS area. Congratulations to him!” 
Qu says, “I am pleased to receive this award; it is the highest recognition of my work. It’s really exciting to compete at the national level. Also, it was a cool and amazing experience to explore the Merck headquarters in Darmstadt because the moment I went in to their innovation center, I felt that I had entered the future. I was stunned that everything is so innovative and cutting-edge.”
Qu adds, “This experience definitely gives me confidence to pursue my food science career. I am really grateful for the help and arrangement from Merck KGaA. More than that, I want to say this award does not only belong to me but also belongs to my lab and my family, because without the help and support from my advisor, my lab mates and my family, I surely cannot go this far.”
Qu presented his research on safety …

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