Hamaker becomes distinguished professor at Purdue

December 16, 2013  

Bruce Hamaker

Bruce Hamaker 
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WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Bruce R. Hamaker, the Roy L. Whistler Chair in Carbohydrate Science, has been appointed a distinguished professor of food science at Purdue University.

Hamaker has been the Whistler Chair since 2008 and director of Purdue's Whistler Center for Carbohydrate Research since 2003. The university Board of Trustees approved his appointment as a distinguished professor Saturday (Dec. 14).

As director of the Whistler Center and a professor of food science, Hamaker performs research on carbohydrates and health, cereal starch and protein structure-function relationships, and dietary fiber and the microbiome. In 2012 he and other scientists found a way to turn on or off the enzymes responsible for processing starchy foods into sugars in the human digestive system, a finding they believe will allow them to better control those processes in people with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

His research includes designing carbohydrates for potential health benefits and improving cereal use in developing countries.

"Dr. Hamaker is showing us that the 'one size fits all' approach to carbohydrate consumption just doesn't work," said Brian Farkas, head of the Department of Food Science. "His research on the relationship between carbohydrates and human health, largely mediated through gut microflora, is breaking new ground in our understanding of the critical role that plant-based foods have on our daily life and long-term health. Through his collaborations with researchers in the plant sciences, nutrition and medicine, Bruce has successfully bridged these historically distant but related fields to form a continuum in the study of human health and well-being."

Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of Purdue Agriculture, said Hamaker has demonstrated excellence in all areas of the land-grant mission.

"His research on carbohydrate chemistry has true global impact, and he is dedicated to the education of students," Akridge said. "His work has found application in human health and helping to address food insecurity, and he has built deep and productive partnerships with industry. Bruce is most deserving of this recognition."

Hamaker came to Purdue in 1992 as a visiting associate professor, became associate professor in 1993 and was made a full professor in 1999. Before coming to Purdue, he was an assistant professor of food science at the University of Arkansas.

Hamaker won the Alsberg-French-Schoch Award for advances in starch research from the American Association of Cereal Chemists in 2013 and the WK Kellogg Food Security Award from the Institute of Food Technologists in 2012. He has published more than 140 articles in refereed research publications and has lectured throughout the world on his research.

Hamaker earned his bachelor's degree from Indiana University. He received his master's degree in human nutrition in 1983 and doctoral degree in food chemistry in 1986, both from Purdue.

Writer: Keith Robinson, 765-494-2722, robins89@purdue.edu

Sources: Brian Farkas, 765-494-8256, bfarkas@purdue.edu

Jay Akridge, 765-494-8391, akridge@purdue.edu

Ag Communications: (765) 494-2722; 

Keith Robinson, robins89@purdue.edu
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