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Dr. Alice Marcinak

Dr. Alice Marciniak

Faculty in the Department of Food Science

Research Focus: Understanding mechanisms in processing milk into functional, nutritious, high-value products and ingredients

Dr. Alice Marciniak completed her Bachelor’s Degree in Food Biochemistry and Master’s Degree in Transformation, Agri-Resources and Industrial Valorization at Lille University in France.

During her MSc, she focused on how to use processing to develop food products and completed a six-month internship in Quebec. This led her to explore opportunities in Canada, where she completed her PhD in Food Science at Laval University. Here research involved dairy processing and how to create valued-added dairy products using science such as novel high pressure-based processing technology. She then pursued a postdoctoral position at Ohio State University where she focused on nutritional components of dairy like milk fat globules and immunoglobulins. In this role, she was interested in exploring how specific components of dairy products can improve human health.

When a faculty position became available at the University of Guelph, Dr. Marciniak immediately applied because she felt that the University of Guelph was well known for its Food Science program, as well as its outstanding dairy science research. With the COVID-19 pandemic, it was an unusual interview process and a challenging time to start a faculty position, but she felt warmly welcomed when she joined the Food Science Department in January of 2022.

Dr. Marciniak is interested in developing co-products from the dairy industry using processing, especially with a goal of isolating specific compounds and improving functionality or bioactivity of products. This includes separating milk components such as proteins and developing new functional products. For example, one of her other interests is combining plant and milk proteins – combining the two could appeal to additional consumers while maintaining the nutritional and functional benefits of using milk proteins.

Dr. Marciniak shared that what excites her most about her new role is future teaching opportunities: “I think it’s important to transmit the passion of research to students and see them evolve and get excited about findings and excited about learning – that is the part that I love most.”

Dr. Marciniak plans to teach an undergraduate Dairy Processing course, which is very popular due to its ice cream and cheese-making labs, as well as a graduate course on dairy products. This graduate course is part of the new Master in Dairy Technology Management (MDTM) program, which she helped to develop. She is also excited to bring new perspectives to the department and the university. As part of Dairy at Guelph, she looks forward to helping promote and develop the dairy foods side of research and sharing and connecting among a community of peers.

“I think Food Science has a big role to play at this university and being more into processing can bring a new perspective,” said Marciniak. “I’m excited about the Dairy at Guelph community and having access to so many people with various expertise and lots of infrastructure, which will be helpful for developing a productive research program. It’s also nice to feel part of a group of peers, and that really helps to build collaborative work.”

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