Lewis is an assistant professor of animal and food science at UW–River Falls who specializes in dairy processing. Her research interests include processing interventions to improve dairy protein functionality, dairy food byproduct enhancement and utilization, high-pressure technologies, and nanoparticles, emulsions and foams. Lewis’s position is funded by the Dairy Innovation Hub.
Casein proteins, the most abundant proteins in milk, orient themselves into micellar structures with water resistant cores. Micellar structures help the body absorb fat soluble vitamins and other complicated fats. Many studies have looked to use casein proteins for the formation of nanoparticles, which allow for desirable applications in both the food and pharmaceutical industries. Many processing techniques have shown promise in improving the formation of these nanoparticles, but some techniques have not been thoroughly studied together. This research project aims to evaluate a model system with new combinations that include ethanol, heat, salts, and high-pressure homogenization. Future work will look to expand on this optimized procedure for dietary and medicinal applications.