Monica Giusti, an assistant professor in Ohio State University's Department of Food Science and Technology, has been named Outstanding Woman in Technology by TechColumbus for her research into the health-enhancing benefits of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables.
Giusti was honored Feb. 2 during TechColumbus's 2011 Innovation Awards ceremony. The awards recognize forward-thinking individuals, companies and technology teams in the central Ohio region for their achievements and contributions in technology leadership and innovation. TechColumbus is a public-private partnership whose mission is to accelerate the advancement of central Ohio's innovation economy through advocacy, venture acceleration and seed funding.
"We are extremely pleased that TechColumbus has recognized the creative talents of Monica Giusti by naming her Outstanding Woman in Technology," says Steve Slack, director of the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center, which supports Giusti's work. OARDC is the research arm of Ohio State's College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences.
Giusti studies anthocyanins, the natural compounds that give most fruits and vegetables their orange, red, blue and purple colors. These pigments are powerful antioxidants, believed to play an important role on the health-enhancing properties of produce -- including the prevention of cancer and other diseases.
Despite their wide availability in nature, anthocyanins are difficult and expensive to isolate into pure forms. Giusti's laboratory has led the development of a novel isolation technique to achieve highly purified anthocyanin mixtures at low costs and high efficiency. A company, AnthoScyantific, has been created to apply this technology for the production of large volumes of nature's purest and most colorful antioxidants.
"Monica's cutting-edge research in the field of antioxidants combines both application of technology and tremendous benefits for consumers," says Richard Linton, chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology. "This award is very well deserved, and our department is very proud of her accomplishments."
Giusti was selected by a panel of independent judges from a total of 12 finalists, who included Fortune 500 vice presidents, consulting firm owners and partners, and fellow university researchers.
"Winning this award is of course a great honor and recognition to the impact that our research can have in society," says Giusti, who joined Ohio State in 2004. "But most of all, this award is a tremendous motivation to continue working in this fascinating field."
Three other CFAES and OARDC scientists -- John Finer, Jianrong Li and Yebo Li -- were among 17 finalists in the Inventor of the Year category.