Enhancing Nutrition- Fruits, Vegetables, Legumes

picThe NC Research Campus scientists below isolate bioactive compounds and use traditional breeding methods to produce fruits, vegetables and legumes with enhanced levels of disease-preventing and health-promoting bioactive compounds. Use the links below to learn more about each scientist and their organizations. To the right, read the recent headlines and journal articles.



Rishipal Bansode, PhD, is a research scientist with the NC Agricultural and Technical State University Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies. His areas of expertise include nutrition, agriculture and molecular biology. His research focuses on plant polyphenols and cardiovascular disease, obesity and diabetes. Recent research findings link polyphenols in peanut skins to lowering lipid levels in the blood. Learn more.

Debora Esposito, PhD

Debora Esposito, PhD, assistant professor of regenerative medicine with the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute, applies research in tissue regeneration and repair and plant-based bioactives to study inflammation and tissue regeneration as it applies to wound healing and skin care; cell-based biological screening in conventional, 3D matrices, and stem culture technologies; and muscle aging and repair.

Mario Ferruzzi. PhD

Mario Ferruzzi, PhD, is a professor of translational nutrition with the NC State Plants for Human Health Institute. He studies provitamin A carotenoid and phenolics studying the role of the food matrix in delivery of micronutrients and phytochemicals, their impact on product quality and health promoting properties in humans.


General Mills  is part of an international consortium focused on mapping the genome of oats and other grains to enhance nutritional and phytochemical qualities as well as pest resistance. They are also a lead partner in a groundbreaking collaborative research and training initiative called P2EP. 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.


Nicholas Gillitt, PhD, is vice president of Nutrition Research for Dole Foods and director of the Dole Nutrition Research Institute. He directs the Dole Nutrition Research Laboratory that is responsible for identifying and quantifying the myriad of phytochemicals found in fruits and vegetables in order to help develop healthier products. The Dole Nutrition Institute is a leader in nutrition education with a website, free on-line monthly newsletter, videos, brochures and educational materials. Learn more.


Penny Perkins-Veazie, PhD, is a postharvest physiologist for the NCSU Plants for Human Health Institute, Along with research into storage methods, food safety and consumer-appeal qualities, she quantifies health-related compounds in fruits and vegetables and works to define the role of fruits and vegetables in human health. Learn more.


Shengmin Sang, PhD, associate professor specializing in functional foods with the NCA&T Center for Excellence in Post-Harvest Technologies, researches dietary exposure markers using metabolomic approaches with the goal of identifying novel bioactive natural products that can be used to prevent chronic diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Ginger and its bioactive compounds are a main focus of his research. Learn more.

Giuseppe Valacchi, PhD

Giuseppe Valacchi, PhD, is an associate professor of regenerative medicine at NC State Plants for Human Health Institute. He evaluates the effect of oxidative stress on organs such as the skin and lungs, and the signal pathways involving epithelial wound healing. He also studies how new topical approaches derived from natural compounds can ameliorate wound healing and tissue regeneration, and the role of oxidative stress and dietary intervention on a rare disease called Rett Syndrome.


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