Faculty 360 | Tao Wu


Tao Wu, associate professor in the Department of Food Science, joined UTIA last July. Dr. Wu received his PhD from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in 2007. Before joining UTIA, he worked as an associate professor at the Glycomics and Glycan Bioengineering Research Center in Nanjing Agricultural University, China.

My research focuses on the use of food biopolymers to improve the quality, safety, and nutritional value of foods. Both basic and applied sciences are involved. A good understanding of the interactions between biopolymers and food/cell components, such as ions, low- and high-molecular-weight ingredients, bacterial surface or mucous surface in gastrointestinal tract will lead to the design of novel food ingredients or processes that can enhance the organoleptic properties, the absorption of nutrients, and the safety of foods.

A favorite part of my job is to read interesting papers that describe cutting-edge research. Some of these research ideas are generated from one or a few sentences in the first-year college chemistry or physics textbooks. However, they can be used in food science. It is a very exciting and joyful experience (this is the reason that I donít read papers at nightóoverexcited). I would like to share this experience with students at UTIA to promote their interests in learning and research.

A profound change in my field that will be coming in the next ten years is probably the use of artificial intelligence in conducting literature review, designing experiments, and writing papers, as well as in cooking foods at home and manufacturing foods in industry. Wait a minute. This is not even my field. OK, Iíll wait until I become a full professor to answer this question.

Some potential collaborations between the US and China are the scholarship from China Scholarship Council (CSC), which can be used to support Chinese students and scholars to study and to conduct research in the US, the Chinese government scholarship (CGC), which can be used for our students to do the same thing in China, and numerous bilateral collaboration opportunities between US and Chinese schools/labs in research and teaching. Some US schools also have technology transfer offices in China that can help the commercialization of technology.

The best thing about UTIA is the numerous collaboration opportunities available across different disciplines and the excellent support from the administration to promote collaboration.

Something people would be surprised to know about me is that I am not a boring person inside.

When Iím not working, I like to read news on politics, history, and economics. Science fiction is my favorite, too. I also like to play badminton and soccer.