Food & Nutrition

Food & Nutrition Experts

Nicki Jene Engeseth

The Institute for Genomic Biology
United States of America


Dr. Engeseth grew up in Duluth, Minnesota. She completed her B.S. degree in 1982 from the University of Minnesota, Duluth. She received her M.S. degree from the University of Illinois, Department of Foods and Nutrition, working with Dr. Barbara P. Klein. Her Ph.D. research was conducted with Dr. Ian Gray in the Department of Food Science & Human Nutrition at Michigan State University, emphasizing food lipid chemistry. After completing her Ph.D., Dr. Engeseth conducted postdoctoral research with Dr. John Ohlrogge at Michigan State University in the Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, studying plant lipid biochemistry and molecular biology. She and her husband, Dr. William Helferich, Professor of Nutrition, moved to the University of Illinois in 1996 and are both in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition. Dr. Engeseth teaches courses in food chemistry.

Research Interest

Dr. Engeseth's research focus is on the study of chemical and biochemical reactions in food products with the eventual goal of manipulation of these pathways for enhancement of food quality. Highlights include the impact of growing conditions, processing and storage on quality and nutritional value of fruits and vegetables. This includes the study of oxidative reactions and antioxidant action with the eventual goal of manipulating such reactions for enhanced food stability and nutritional quality. Also being studied are the physical properties of food lipids, such as cocoa butter and the impact of changes through storage and processing on consumer perception of product quality.


  • Wang, X.-H., L. Andrae, and N.J. Engeseth. Antimutagenic effect of honeys from different floral sources against Trp-p-1. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50:6923-6928.

  • Gheldof, N., X. Wang, and N.J. Engeseth.Identification and quantification of antioxidant components of honeys from various floral sources. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50:5870-5877.

  • Gheldof, N. and N.J. Engeseth.Antioxidant capacity of honeys from various floral sources based on the determination of oxygen radical absorbance capacity and inhibition of in vitro lipoprotein oxidation in human serum samples. J. Agric. Food Chem. 50:3050-3055.

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