Jennifer van de Ligt, Ph.D., has an extensive background in animal feed and human food production, nutrition, safety, and regulations, with academic, industry, and global perspectives. Her research and industry experience spans areas from consumer packaged goods labeling compliance for global product launch to development of novel food and feed ingredients to basic research on the immunological impact of micro-mineral nutrition.
Dr. van de Ligt is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine, Director of the Integrated Food Systems Leadership program, and Co-Director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI), a Department of Homeland Security Center of Excellence. A key focus of her leadership is building collaborations to advance food and feed safety, defense, and supply-chain resiliency while transitioning solutions to the food industry.
Prior to joining the University of Minnesota, Dr. van de Ligt held numerous leadership positions at a global food, agricultural, financial, and industrial products company operating in 70 countries. She was the lead nutrition and regulatory expert for a variety of food and feed novel ingredient and claims innovations. Dr. van de Ligt provided leadership to extended and interdisciplinary technical and regulatory teams to ensure that the ingredients met appropriate nutrition and safety standards through conduct of funded toxicological and nutritional efficacy evaluation. These development initiatives required collaboration with external researchers, interdisciplinary teams, industry trade associations, governmental officials, and private-sector customers and suppliers, as well as obtaining and coordinating staffing, budget, and project and research timeline strategy, expectations, and work products.
Dr. van de Ligt successfully developed an intellectual asset management program for a major division of the same global food company, which supported expansion of its global footprint with greater longevity, and the application of proprietary and profit-generating tools and technologies. She also served as a steering committee representative for a public/private partnership initiative to build the Branded Foods Product Database, which augments the USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, with the nutrient composition of branded foods and private label data, thereby directly enhancing public health through open data sharing.
Dr. van de Ligt has more than 130 global patents and patent applications, including for specialty ingredients, processing technology, packaging innovations, and biology-based feed formulation systems. In addition to her academic career detailed below, Dr. van de Ligt also had the opportunity to conduct research internationally at Wageningen Agricultural University and Proefstation voor de Varkenshouderij.