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Yifan Cheng

Assistant Professor
Yifan Cheng
402-B HABB1 (0924)
1230 Washington Street SW
Blacksburg, VA 24061


  • Ph.D., Food Science, Cornell University, 2017
  • B.S., Food Science, Cornell University, 2012
  • B.S., Plant Science & Technology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 2012

Professional Appointments

2022 - Present: Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA

2019 - 2022: Postdoctoral Fellow (USDA NIFA), Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

2017 - 2019: Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Food Science, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY


My primary research thrust is to improve food safety, quality, and sustainability, through rational design and precise engineering of the food contact surfaces encountered in processing and packaging. To this end, in my group we strive to (i) understand the microbe-material-food interplay via human and artificial intelligence and (ii) develop an interfacial engineering platform to precisely control material properties and leverage the interplay. Specific areas of interest include (1) antimicrobial nanostructures on plastic packaging; (2) food waste valorization via immobilized enzymes; (3) AI-aided packaging design and optimization; and (4) active/intelligent packaging.