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Ph.D. student presentation garners co-sponsor funding for initiative

Habeeb Babatunde

Habeeb Babatunde came to Boise State with a passion to help his home country of Nigeria to improve its health services sector. Through his advisors, Tim Andersen and Owen McDougal, Habeeb found himself presenting at the BUILD Dairy Annual Meeting in Provo, UT this year to improve the health of people and animals. Building University-Industry Linkages through Learning and Discovery (BUILD) Dairy is a collaboration between dairy companies and farmers to provide funding for students to do research that will help the dairy industry grow. Although he stood out among the food scientists and farmers as a computing student, Habeeb said the experience helped him to better communicate with those from other, non-tech backgrounds.

“Preliminary work has addressed the 2019 BUILD Dairy Research Priorities 8, 17, and 23 that deal with protein analysis by mid- and near-infrared spectroscopy, rapid assessment of protein structure integrity, and fractionated milk for protein and peptide products, respectively. Our efforts identified the limits of conventional infrared (IR) spectral interpretation, providing the inspiration to pursue the use of machine learning techniques (partial least squares, artificial neural network, and convolutional neural network) with genetic algorithms to build an effective qualitative and quantitative chemometric model solution for complex protein mixtures in milk. In accordance with current good manufacturing practices (cGMP), the final solution will put focus on regulatory compliance standards established by the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the development of future dairy protein products. When implemented successfully, a cost-efficient open-source software solution will be created to facilitate NIR spectroscopy monitoring of protein content in milk as it passes through a processing facility.”

After his presentation, Daisy Brand’s Brandon Nelson, Director-Innovation and Technical Services, expressed interest to co-sponsor and fund the initiative, alongside BUILD Dairy. Although Habeeb presented at the weeklong meeting, he said his favorite part of the event was the farm tours in Utah. Habeeb is currently working with researchers in McDougal’s lab, Rianat Lukman, Rose Saxton, and Joseph Collins, on a quantitative analysis of whey and casein proteins in milk using chemometrics in his own research. After graduating, Habeeb plans to work in industry to gain more industrial exposure.