Advances in Berry Research


Meet our outstanding berry researchers who are nutritionally-enhancing berry varieties to benefit consumers and farmers and developing new functional food products that extend the health advantages of berries. Use the links below to learn more about their research and their institutes. To the right, read the latest headlines and journal articles about berry research at the NC Research Campus.

Leading Berry Researchers



As director of the UNC Charlotte Bioinformatics Services Division, Cory Brouwer, PhD, is a member of the team that is mapping the blueberry genome. He is also the lead scientist directing the creation of genetic knowledge-bases for strawberries and other crops. Learn more.


Carol Cheatham, PhD, UNC Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute (NRI), is studying men and women 65 to 79 years old and the effect of ingesting blueberries on cognitive abilities. Learn more.

Massimo Iorizzo, PhD, an assistant professor in the Department of Horticultural Science with the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute, researches genetics, genomics, germplasm improvement and breeding of small fruits, such as strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, blueberries and vegetable crops. His focus is the health-promoting phytoactive compounds inherent in fruits and vegetables and strategies to select, concentrate and preserve them. Learn more.

Colin Kay, PhD

Colin Kay, PhD, is an associate professor of translational nutrition and food sciences with the NC State University Plants for Human Health Institute. Using human and cell-based studies, he investigates the effects of diet on disease to identify metabolites of berry consumption as biomarkers of intake and active compounds for the prevention of disease.


Mary Ann Lila, PhD, PHHl director, works globally investigating the bioactive compounds found in fruits and vegetables and their potential to counteract chronic human disease. In partnership with Rutgers University, she developed a proprietary process, commercially known as Nutrasorb, where anthocyanins and other healthy components of fruits and vegetables are concentrated into a shelf-stable, low calorie, nutritious food product. Learn more.


Ann Loraine, PhD, associate professor in the UNC Charlotte Department of Bioinformatics and Genomics, applies bioinformatics to research plant functions such as cytokinin signal transduction and alternative splicing using the model plant system Arabidopsis thaliana. She also creates genome visualization software. Learn more.  


Penelope Perkins-Veazie, PhD, PHHI postharvest physiologist, researches fruits and vegetables in terms of storage methods to extend shelf life and to enhance functional food compounds. She identifies and quantifies health-related compounds and evaluates food safety, quality and consumer-appeal characteristics to make sure growers have better quality fruits and vegetables for high-value markets. Learn more.

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