COLUMBUS, Ohio -- In his new role as chair of Ohio State University's Department of Food Science and Technology, Richard Linton plans to forge new partnerships.
"My whole career has revolved around the catalyst of bringing people together to achieve mutual goals," Linton said.
The department already has a strong tradition in such efforts. Food science faculty work closely with others in the college and at the university's James Cancer Center and College of Medicine to develop deeper understandings of everything from food chemistry to food safety to novel processing technologies. But Linton hopes to build on those successes and expand them, within the department, the college, the university -- and across the state.
Linton and another new department chair in the College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences -- Scott Shearer in Food, Agricultural and Biological Engineering -- plan to visit food processing companies across the state to learn more about the industry's challenges and offer ways their departments might collaborate to help. Linton likens the plan to his work at Purdue University as director of the Center for Food Safety Engineering, where he spent a decade bringing together faculty and graduate students from a variety of disciplines with U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers to improve the safety of the food supply.
Linton also plans to bring students together. Though first-year students can declare food science as their major, they don't normally begin to take those classes until their third year. "I want to establish a mentorship program between upper-level students and the first- and second-year students," Linton said. "I'm not sure what that will look like yet. We might plan some hands-on demonstrations in the pilot plant, or invite them to seminars or just bring them over here for lunch. My goal is to help make this the best college experience students can have."
Linton's past research on using ozone and chlorine dioxide to kill pathogens in produce will continue in a limited manner as he focuses on his administrative role.
"The foundation here is phenomenal -- we have great people, great facilities," Linton said. "And there are all sorts of opportunities to work with people across the state who want to embrace the opportunity to work with us. That's what I really enjoy doing -- bringing people together."
Linton can be reached at email@example.com or 614-292-6281.