Wan-Yuan Kuo headshot

Dr. Wan-Yuan Kuo, Director

Personal Website

Contact: (406) 994-3259 | [email protected]

Graduate Researchers

Edwin Allan headshot

Edwin Allan

Contact: [email protected]
Résumé (PDF)

Hometown: Damolgu, Ghana

Education: Edwin received his M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems and is currently a doctoral student at MSU. He received his B.S. in Nutrition and Food Science from the University of Ghana.

FPDL Involvement: Currently, Edwin is researching the culinary and nutritional quality of Montanan vs. Washington lentils and chickpeas and experimenting with extrusion processing of Montana lentils and chickpeas. As a master's student, he led the development of a culturally-sensitive peanut product for smallholder farmers in Kaffrine, Senegal. Edwin developed his passion for improving value-added agriculture as a youth in Damolgu, where crop farming is the main occupation.


  • Outstanding Graduate Student in Sustainable Food Systems, Montana State University - 2020 spring semester
  • Montana State University’s graduate award in Scholarship Excellence – 2020 spring semester
  • Judges’ Choice Award in Montana State University $50K venture competition
  • First Place in the Developing Solutions for Developing Countries Competition (DSDC), Institute of Food Technologists 2020 conference

Other Interests: Playing basketball, reading novels, and playing word games.

Genesis Chavez headshot

Genesis Chavez

Contact: [email protected]

Hometown: Chinandega, Nicaragua.

Education: Genesis is currently enrolled in Sustainable Food Systems master program at MSU. She earned a B.S. in Food Technology Science and Technology from Zamorano University, Honduras.

FPDL Involvement: Genesis's research focuses on co-development of a culturally-appropriate food product in alliance with the Boys and Girls Club of the Flathead Reservation & Lake CO. The product features highlight the cultural heritage of the Native Americans by incorporating underutilized locally produce food ingredients, including bison meat, serviceberry (saskatoon berry) and Indian ricegrass. The project emphasizes active participation of the community towards promoting Food Sovereignty and consumer-led product development to deliver a healthy and nutritious snack.

Awards: NUTR 496 Product Pitch Video Competition, Spring 2020. Genesis presented her product development progress in a 5 minute video at the AERO (Alternative Resources Organization) mid Term Celebration meeting. She was selected as a finalist of Three Minute Thesis Competition in the MSU College of Education, Health and Human Development’s, Spring 2020.

Other interests: Languages, volunteering, outdoors, Nicaraguan Folklore dance, and people’s eating behaviors.

Sumedha Garg headshot

Sumedha Garg

Contact: [email protected]
LinkedIn | Résumé (PDF) | Research summary video

Hometown: Auckland, New Zealand

Education: Sumedha is currently pursuing a M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems at MSU. She received her B.S. in Food Technology with a major in Food Product Development from Massey University, New Zealand. 

FPDL Involvement: Sumedha's master's thesis supports the value-added product and market development of cold-hardy berries (namely, Aronia, Blackcurrants and Saskatoon berries). With this, she hopes to support Montana farmers to diversify their income streams and promote crop biodiversity in a land where a monoculture climate seems to dominate.

Awards: A summer 2021 Blackstone Launchpad Fellowship is allowing Sumedha to further explore her research area and develop entrepreneural skills for the developed prototype. She was also awarded as an Institute of Food Technology Finalist for the 2021 Graduate Research Video Competition.

Other interests: Baking, hiking, traveling internationally, exploring different lifestyles

Mattie Griswold headshot

Mattie Griswold

Contact: [email protected]

Hometown: Stanley, Idaho, USA

Education: Mattie is currently pursuing an M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems at MSU. She received her B.A. in Environmental Studies-Geology from Whitman College in 2013.

FPDL Involvement: Mattie is assisting with research in Native food product development. Her master’s thesis is focused on creating a Tribal bison farm-to-school model that supports economic, ecological, and community wellbeing.

Other interests: Gardening, food cooking and preserving, and exploring Montana in every season.

Chidimma Ifeh profile photo

Chidimma Ifeh

Contact: [email protected], LinkedIn - www.linkedin.com/in/chidimma-ifeh

Hometown: Anambra, Nigeria

Education: Chidimma is currently enrolled in Sustainable Food Systems master program at MSU. She earned a B.S. in Food Science and Technology from Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Nigeria.

FPDL Involvement: Machine learning, Conduct fermentation research work/ Senegal women farmers, & support the Lab's service or outreach projects.

Awards: Leader of the year, Nigerian Association of Food science and Technology students.

Other interests: Watching sport games, exercising, Reading, Playing music, and Volunteering.

KayAnn Miller headshot

KayAnn Miller

Contact: [email protected]

KayAnn’s research is situated at the intersection of mental health, nutrition, and culture. Her research hypothesizes that diet plays a key role in mental-health disparities experienced in Indigenous communities in Montana as measured by rates of depression, suicide ideation and suicide attempts. KayAnn finds the potential links between adequate nutritional intake, depression and suicide reduction intriguing from a cultural standpoint, given the high nutritional quality of many pre-contact Indigenous diets, defined as diets consisting of food from plants and animals native to the Americas prior to 1492. KayAnn has a background in Indigenous food foraging, gardening, harvesting and preparation, and most recently served as Executive Sous Chef at one of Montana State University’s dining halls. During her time there, KayAnn worked extensively with various stakeholders both on and off the MSU Bozeman Campus to indigenize the campus’ pantries and to bring Indigenous foods to MSU’s dining hall, retail and catering menus and operations.


Undergraduate Researchers

Eric Allen profile photo

Eric Allen

Hometown: Burlington, Vermont, USA

Education: Junior in Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems

FPDL Involvement: Worked on MPP lentil powder program

Other Interests: Traveling, hiking, biking, eating, and reading

Riyadh Alturaif headshot

Riyadh Alturaif

Hometown: Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia 

Education: Senior pursuing Bachelor's in Chemical Engineering  

FPDL Involvement: Assistant with Bison Cracker Project and developing a Lentil Dip project.

Other Interests: Traveling around the world, camping, playing video games, volunteering, and cooking.

Rachel Baranek headshot

Rachel Baranek

Hometown: Helena, MT

Education: Pursuing a Bachelor's in Nutrition Sciences

FPDL Involvement: Working on the Cold-hardy Berry Smoothie Blend project

Other interests: Spending time in the outdoors, playing guitar, cooking, reading

Grace Beck headshot

Grace Beck

Hometown: Oswego, Illinois, USA

Education: A senior pursuing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering, MSU

FPDL Involvement: Assisting with the cold-hardy berry, cricket protein hydrolysate, and bison cracker projects. Works with Montana Pollution Prevention to do an analysis of the extruder lab and purpose more environmentally friendly alternatives.

Other Interests: Hiking, paddle boarding, camping, painting

Hannah Kempf headshot

Hannah Kempf

Hometown: Bozeman, MT

Education: Junior year student pursuing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering.

FPDL Involvement: Member of team PATH. Focused on researching the nutritive effects of fermentation on the African baobab fruit.

Other Interests: Skiing, hiking, cooking, baking, and exploring the outdoors with her Labrador retriever Atlas.

Anna Kramer headshot

Anna Kramer

Hometown: Colorado Springs, CO

Education: Sophomore pursuing a B.S. in Chemical Engineering

FPDL Involvement: Assisting in the development of crackers using indigenous ingredients 

Other Interests: cooking, hiking, skiing 

Nicolette Paulus headshot

Nicolette Paulus

Hometown: Hood River, Oregon, USA

Education: Senior in Food and Nutrition Major: Dietetics Option

FPDL Involvement: Working on fresh market potential and value-added opportunities for cold hardy berries in the Northern Rockies

Other Interests: Skiing, backpacking, cooking, tennis 


Erin Falls headshot

Erin Falls, Lab Manager

Contact: [email protected]

Erin is a Registered Dietitian, Yoga Teacher and Founder of Planks & Pizza, a one-stop wellness shop focused on empowering others to discover a balanced lifestyle that is flexible, fun and rewarding – aka, "balance their planks with a little pizza."

Erin went to UNC-Chapel Hill graduating with a B.A. in Journalism and minor in Spanish. Her passion for helping others discover their healthiest, best life inspired her to pursue her Masters in Nutrition after working six years in a larger corporate environment, and realizing she wanted to take things in a different direction.

Rebecca Richter profile photo

Rebecca Richter, Web Content Manager

Contact: [email protected]

Rebecca researches, develops and manages websites, writes, and copyedits for anyone who is striving to make the world a better place. As a digital nomad, she continually seeks warm weather and beautiful hiking spots with her 1992 Toyota motorhome. Rebecca is passionate about living and teaching about the whole food plant based lifestyle for health and sustainability.

Rebecca has a B.S. in Archaeology from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse and an M.S. in Plant Biology from Arizona State University. She also served in the U.S. Peace Corps in West Africa, managed a non-profit organization, and worked for the National Audubon Society for many years. 


David Sewell, Food Extrusion Lab Manager