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Susan E. Duncan

Associate Director, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station
  • Director, Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture, VT College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Affiliate faculty
  • Professor, Department of Food Science & Technology at Virginia Tech
  • Affiliate faculty, Water INTERface Integrated Graduate Education Program (Water IGEP)
Dr. Susan E. Duncan
104-C Hutcheson Hall
250 Drillfield Dr.
Blacksburg, VA 24061


  • Ph.D., Food Science and Technology, The University of Tennessee, 1989
  • M.S., Food and Nutrition, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 1987
  • B.S., Food Technology, The Ohio State University, 1981
  • Registered Dietitian (RD), Commission on Dietetic Registration, 1987 to present

Employment History

2020-present: Director, Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture, VT College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

2016-present: Associate Director, Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station

2014-2019: Co-Director, VT Water INTERface Integrated Graduate Education Program (Water IGEP)

2004-present: Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology (FST), Virginia Tech (VT)

2004-2011: Director, VT Macromolecular Interfaces with Life Sciences (MILES) IGERT Program

1996-2004: Associate Professor, FST, VT

1990-1996: Assistant Professor, FST, VT

1986-1989: Graduate Research Assistant, The University of Tennessee, Knoxville

1985-1986: Graduate Teaching Assistant, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA

1981-1983: Food Technologist, Marzetti’s Salad Dressing Co., Columbus, OH

Awards and Leadership

2018-2020: Food Systems Leadership Institute Fellow, Cohort 14; a program of the APLU

2017-2019: FASS Board, President, Past President

2016-2017: LEAD21, a leadership and professional development program

2014-2017: American Dairy Science Association, President-Elect (elected); President; Past President

2011-2014: American Dairy Science Association, Board member (elected)

2013: Virginia Tech TedX Event Speaker: “Beyond Boundaries: Food and Emotions”

2011: Faculty Research Award, Gamma Sigma Delta, VT Chapter

1997: American Dairy Science Association (ADSA) Foundation Scholar Award for Young Scientists


American Dairy Science Association

Institute of Food Technologists (IFT; member)

American Chemical Society (ACS; member)

International Association of Food Protection (IAFP; member)

Society of Sensory Science Professionals

Selected Funding Sources

Federal and National Organizations
National Science Foundation
Dairy Research Institute/Dairy Management Inc.

Industry Sources
ConAgra Foods
Dupont Titanium Technologies
Dupont Teijin
Eastman Chemical Co.
Nestle Purina Inc.

VT Graduate School
Institute for Creativity
Arts and Technology (ICAT)
Fralin Life Sciences Institute
College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS)

My research program includes both applied and more basic research in the areas of:

Sensory Evaluation, with a focus on food and emotions
My group is evaluating and using assessment tools to measure implicit and explicit emotions and how these tools assist in providing additional consumer insight for food, packaging, and food choice and behavior. Projects in this area are multidisciplinary in nature, interacting with faculty in food science, psychology, engineering/statistics, arts, accounting and information systems, human nutrition, and/or leadership and education.  Other projects may be commodity focused, such as sensory quality on spices, sweeteners, fish and shellfish, meat, etc.

Food Chemistry, with a focus on oxidation
Research in this area investigates the effect of light, oxygen, and photosensitive compounds on oxidation reactions and subsequent implications to color, flavor and sensory quality.

Food Packaging, with a focus on sensory interactions
Interacting with food packaging and retail companies and national level organizations allows practical and applied research for improving packaging material design to protect food and beverage quality.  Project emphasis includes evaluating packaging materials for light and oxygen barrier properties for maintain/improving food and beverage sensory quality.

Cyberbiosecurity for the Food and Agricultural System
In the age of digital agriculture and increased technology adoption in the food and agricultural system, security of biological data generated from agricultural and food sectors is paramount. Our program seeks to increase awareness and capacity, identify risks and strategies for protection, and guide education and workforce training to address this need.

Water for Health, with a focus on water quality as related to effect on food/beverage quality, sensory perception, and consumer choice and behavior
Working within the Water INTERface IGEP program, students in this research area will benefit from interactions with faculty from the Departments of Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biology, and others.  Current projects in this area include qualitative and analytical research about drinking water sources on campus, implications of metals in water on beverage quality, perception of metallic flavor in healthy adults and cancer patients, and implications to biological fluids such as milk and saliva.

Milk and Dairy Foods, with a focus on emulsion stability, flavor and sensory quality
Many projects within this area are integrated within the basic categories of sensory evaluation, food chemistry, and food packaging.  Most projects involve some type of processing, packaging, chemistry and sensory activities.

Functional Foods
These projects are integrated with the basic categories of sensory evaluation, food chemistry and food packaging as we study the effects of functional ingredients for health on oxidative stability of the food and packaging options for protecting the health-promoting ingredients.

RESEARCH INTERESTS - for more information, see my ResearchGate portfolio

Publications (selected recent; * indicates graduate student).  

Sensory Evaluation and Emotions:

Carneiro RCV*Duncan SE; O’Keefe SF; Yin Y; Neill CL; Zhang B. (2020). Sensory and consumer studies in plant breeding programs: A review for edamame variety development guidance. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, section Nutrition and Sustainable Diets; doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2020.00124. A contribution to the research topic Everything Edamame: Biology, Production, Nutrition, Sensory and Economics.

Carneiro*, R., Duncan, S., O'Keefe, S., Yu, D., Huang, H., Yin, Y., . . . Gillen, A. (2020). Utilizing consumer perception of edamame to guide new variety development. Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems4. doi:10.3389/fsufs.2020.556580

Clark*, E. A., Duncan, S. E., Hamilton*, L. M., Bell, M. A., Lahne, J., Gallagher, D. L., & O'Keefe, S. F. (2021). Characterizing consumer emotional response to milk packaging guides packaging material selection. FOOD QUALITY AND PREFERENCE87, 16 pages. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2020.103984

Clark E*; Kessinger*J; Duncan S; Bell MA Lahne J; Gallagher D; O’Keefe S. (2020). The facial coding action system for characterization of human affective response to consumer-product-based stimuli: A systematic review.  Frontiers Psychology. Published May 26. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.00920

Myers* EA; Duncan SE; Wang A; Hedrick VE. (2019). Identifying an appropriate carrier for nonnutritive sweeteners in metabolic and controlled feeding investigations via sensory evaluation. J Sensory Studies34(2), 8 pages. doi:10.1111/joss.12488

Crist* CA, Duncan SE, Arnade* EA, Leitch* KA, O’Keefe SF, Gallagher DL. (2018). Automated facial expression analysis for emotional responsivity using an aqueous bitter model. Fd Qual Pref 68:349-359.

Kostelnik*, S., Clark*, E., Duncan, S., & Davy, B. (2018). The formulation and sensory evaluation of a whey permeate-based hydration beverage. The Digest. Research Dietetics Practice Group Professional Newsletter, Fall 2018.

Walsh*, A. M., Duncan, S. E., Bell, M. A., O'Keefe, S. F., & Gallagher, D. L. (2017). Integrating implicit and explicit emotional assessment of food quality and safety concerns. Food Quality and Preference, 56, 212-224. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2016.11.002

Walsh*, A. M., Duncan, S. E., Bell, M. A., O'Keefe, S. F., & Gallagher, D. L. (2017). Breakfast meals and emotions: Implicit and explicit assessment of the visual experience. Journal of Sensory Studies, 32(3), 13 pages. doi:10.1111/joss.12265

Gardner*, D. M., Duncan, S. E., & Zoecklein, B. W. (2017). Aroma Characterization of Petit Manseng Wines Using Sensory Consensus Training, SPME GC-MS, and Electronic Nose Analysis. American Journal of Enology and Viticulture, 68 (1), 112-119. doi:10.5344/ajev.2016.15099

Duncan, S. E., Moberg*, K., Amin*, K. N., Wright, M., Newkirk*, J. J., Ponder, M. A.,  Dickson, J. S. (2017). Processes to Preserve Spice and Herb Quality and Sensory Integrity During Pathogen Inactivation. Journal of Food Science, 82(5), 1208- 1215. doi:10.1111/1750-3841.13702

Potts*, H., K. Amin*, and S. Duncan. 2017. Retail lighting and packaging influences consumer acceptability of fluid milk. J. Dairy Sci. 100:1-11.

Wang*, A., S.E. Duncan, and A.M. Dietrich. 2016. Effect of iron on taste perception and emotional response of sweetened beverage under different water conditions. Food Qual. Pref. 54:58-66.

Crist*, C.A., S.E. Duncan, D.L. Gallagher. 2016. Protocol for data collection and analysis applied to automated facial expression analysis technology and temporal analysis for sensory evaluation. J. Vis. Exp. E54046, doi:10.3791/54046. Date Published 7/1/2016.

Walsh*, A., S. Duncan, H. Potts*, and D. Gallagher. 2015. Comparing quality and emotional responses as related to acceptability of light-induced oxidation flavor in milk. Food Res. Internat. 76(P2):293-300.

Leitch*, K., S. Duncan, S. O’Keefe, R. Rudd, D. Gallagher. 2015. Characterizing consumer emotional response to sweeteners using an emotion terminology questionnaire and facial expression. Food Res. Internat. 76(P2):283-292.

Johnson*, D., S. Duncan, L. Bianchi*, H. Chang, W. Eigel, and S. O’Keefe. 2015. Packaging modifications for protecting flavor of extended shelf-life milk from light. J. Dairy Sci. 98(4):2205-2214.

Kingsley, D., S. Duncan, L. Granata, A. Salinas-Jones*, G. Flick, D. Bourne, and V. Fernandez-Plotka. 2015. High-pressure processing with hot sauce flavouring enhances sensory quality for raw oysters (Crassostrea virginica). Internat. J. Food Sci. Technol. 50(9):2013-2021.

Rognlien*, M., S. E. Duncan, W. N. Eigel, S. F. O’Keefe. 2012. Consumer perception and sensory impact of oxidation in omega-3 enriched savory flavored yogurt. J. Dairy Sci. 95:1690-1698.

Food Chemistry, Packaging, and Processing with a focus on oxidation and sensory interactions:

Yu*, D., Lin*, T., Sutton*, K., Lord*, N. D., Carneiro*, R., Jin*, Q., Zhang, B., Kuhar, T., Rideout,  S.L., Ross, W. J., Duncan, S. E., Yin, Y., Wang, H., and Huang, H. (2021). Chemical compositions of edamame genotypes grown in different locations in the U.S. Front. Sustain. Food Systems, section Crop Biology and Sustainability –. A contribution to the research topic Everything Edamame: Biology, Production, Nutrition, Sensory and Economics.

Wang, A., Duncan, S. E., Whalley*, N. W., & O'Keefe, S. F. (2020). Interaction effect of LED color temperatures and light-protective additive packaging on photo-oxidation in milk displayed in retail dairy case. FOOD CHEMISTRY323, 9 pages. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.126699

Carneiro*, R. C. V., Wang, H., Duncan, S. E., & O'Keefe, S. F. (2020). Flavor compounds in Vine Tea (Ampelopsis grossedentata) infusions. FOOD SCIENCE & NUTRITION8(8), 4505-4511. doi:10.1002/fsn3.1754

Lin*, T., O'Keefe, S., Duncan, S., & Fernandez-Fraguas, C. (2020). Retention of primary bile salts by dry beans (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) during in vitro digestion: Role of bean components and effect of food processing. FOOD RESEARCH INTERNATIONAL137, 14 pages. doi:10.1016/j.foodres.2020.109337

Lin*, T., O'Keefe, S., Duncan, S., & Fernandez-Fraguas, C. (2020). Manipulation of the dry bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) matrix by hydrothermal and high-pressure treatments: Impact on in vitro bile salt-binding ability. FOOD CHEMISTRY310, 9 pages. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2019.125699

Baek* N; Kim YT; Marcy JE; Duncan SE; O’Keefe SF. (2018). Physical properties of nanocomposite polylactic acid films prepared with oleic acid modified titanium dioxide. Food Pack Shelf Life, 17, 30-38. Doi: 10.1016/j.fpsl.2018.05.004.

Wang A; Dadmun* CH; Hand* RM; O’Keefe SF; Phillips* JB; Anders* KA; Duncan SE. (2018). Efficacy of light-protective additive packaging in protecting milk freshness in a retail dairy case with LED lighting a different light intensities. Food Res Internat, 114, 1-9. Doi:10/1016/j.foodres.2018.07.053

Stancik, C. M., Conner, D. A., Jernakoff, P., Niedenzu, P. M., Duncan, S. E., Bianchi*, L. M., & Johnson*, D. S. (2017). Accelerated light protection performance measurement technology validated for dairy milk packaging design. Packaging Technology and Science, 30(12), 771-780. doi:10.1002/pts.2326

Thompson Witrick*, K., Duncan, S., Hurley, K., & O Keefe, S. (2017). Acid and volatiles of commercially-available lambic beers. Beverages, 3(4), 51. doi:10.3390/beverages3040051

Wang*, A., S.E. Duncan, K.F. Knowlton, W.K. Ray, and A.M. Dietrich. 2016. Milk protein composition and stability changes affected by iron in water sources. J. Dairy Sci. 99(6):4206-4219.

Sheibani*, E., S. Duncan, D. Kuhn, A. Dietrich, and S. O’Keefe. 2016. SDE and SPME analysis of flavor compounds in Jin Xuan Oolong tea. J. Food Sci. 81(2):C348-C358.

Bianchi*, L.M., S.E. Duncan, J.B. Webster, A.P. Neilson, and S.F. O’Keefe. 2015. Contribution of chlorophyll to photooxidation of soybean at specific visible wavelengths of light. J. Fd. Sci.  80(2):C252-C261. [Food Chemistry]

Ye*, L., H. Wang, S. Duncan, W. Eigel, and S. O’Keefe. 2015. Antioxidant activities of Vine Tea (Ampelopsis grossedentata) extract and its major component dihydromyricetin in soybean oil and cooked ground beef. Food Chem. 172:416-422.

Thompson-Witrick*, K., R. Rouseff, K. Cadwallader, S. Duncan, W. Eigel, J. Tanko, and S. O’Keefe. 2015. Comparison of two extraction techniques, solid-phase microextraction versus continuous liquid-liquid extraction/solvent-assisted flavor evaporation, for the analysis of flavor compounds in gueuze lambic beer. J. Food Sci. 80(3):C571-C576.

Duncan, S. E. and H.H. Chang*. 2012. Implications of light energy on food quality and packaging selection. Adv. Food Nutr. Research 67:25-66.

Moore*, R., S. E. Duncan, A. Rasor*, W. N. Eigel, S. F. O'Keefe. 2012. Oxidative stability of an extended shelf-life dairy-based beverage system designed to contribute to heart health. J. Dairy Sci. 95(11):6242-6251.

Duncan, S. E. and S. Hannah*. 2012. Light-protective packaging materials for foods and beverages. Ch. 15. In Yam, K. L. and D.S. Lee (eds). Emerging Food Packaging Technologies: Principles and Practice. Woodhead Publishing Ltd.

Cyberbiosecurity in the Food and Agricultural System:

Duncan, S. E., Zhang, B., Thomason, W., Ellis, M., Meng, N., Stamper, M., . . . Drape, T. (2020). Securing data in life sciences—A plant food (edamame) systems case study. Frontiers in Sustainability1. doi:10.3389/frsus.2020.600394

Duncan SE; Reinhard* R; Williams RC; Ramsey F; Thomason W; Lee K; Dudek N; Mostaghimi S; Colbert C; Murch R. (2019). Cyberbiosecurity: A new perspective on protecting U.S. food and agricultural system. Front. Bioeng. and Biotechnol. 7, 63, 7 pg. doi: 10.3389/fbioe.2019.00063

Water for Health, Metallic Taste Perception:

Carneiro* R. C., Wang, C., Yu, J., O'Keefe, S. F., Duncan, S. E., Gallagher, C. D., . . . Dietrich, A. M. (2021). Check-if-apply approach for consumers and utilities to communicate about drinking water aesthetics quality. SCIENCE OF THE TOTAL ENVIRONMENT753, 11 pages. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2020.141776

Wang*, A; Duncan SE; Lesser GJ; Dietrich AM; Ray WK. (2018). Effect of lactoferrin on taste and smell abnormalities induced by chemotherapy: A proteome analysis. Food Func. doi:10.1038/C8FO00813B.

Leyrer, C.M., M.D. Chan, A.M. Peiffer, E. Horne, M. Harmon, A.F. Carter, W.H. Hinson, S. Mirlohi*, S.E. Duncan, A.M. Dietrich, G.J. Lesser. 2014. Taste and smell disturbances after brain irradiation: Dose volume histogram analysis of a prospective observational study. Pract Radiat Oncol. 2014 Mar-Apr;4(2):130-5. doi: 10.1016/j.prro.2013.06.003. Epub 2013 Jul 25.

Mirlohi*, S., S.E. Duncan, M. Harmon, D. Case, G. Lesser, A.M. Dietrich. 2014. Analysis of salivary fluid and chemosensory functions in patients treated for primary malignant brain tumors. Clin. Oral. Invest. DOI 10.1007/s00784-014-1211-8

Mann*, G. R., S. E. Duncan, K. F. Knowlton, A. D. Dietrich, and S. F. O’Keefe. 2013. Effects of mineral content of bovine drinking water: Does iron content affect milk quality? J. Dairy Sci. 96 :7478ñ–7489

Food Safety and Biosecurity:

Reinhard* RG; Kalinowski RM; Bodnaruk PW; Eifert JD; Boyer RR; Duncan SE; Bailey RH. (2020). Fate of Listeria on various food contact and noncontact surfaces when treated with bacteriophage. J. Food Safety, 40(3):e12775; Published online Feb 11, 2020.

Reinhard*, R. G., Kalinowski, R. M., Bodnaruk, P. W., Eifert, J. D., Boyer, R. R., Duncan, S. E., & Bailey, R. H. (2020). Practical application of bacteriophage in food manufacturing facilities for the control of Listeria sp.. JOURNAL OF FOOD SAFETY, 7 pages. doi:10.1111/jfs.12871

Reinhard* RG; Kalinowski RM; Bodnaruk PW; Eifert JD; Boyer RR; Duncan SE; Bailey RH. (2018). Incidence of Listeria spp in ready-to-eat food processing plant environments regulated by the U.S. Food Safety and Inspection Service and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. J Food Prot. 81(7), doi:10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-17-440.

Conference Papers and Presentations

Crist, C., Duncan, S. E., Dietrich, A. M., & Schroeder, M. (2017). Assessment of drinking water quality and user perceptions between filling stations and water fountains on a college campus: a mixed methods approach. Sydney, Australia.

Wang, A., Duncan, S. E., & Dietrich, A. M. (2017). Effect of drinking water minerals on sweetness and metallic taste perception and emotional response of sweetened beverage. Sydney, Australia.

Duncan, S. E., Wang, A., & Mann, G. (2017). Effect of iron in farm and processing water sources on milk quality. In J. Wang, N. Zheng, S. Zhao, & A. Kertz (Eds.), Proceedings of the 5th International Symposium on Dairy Cow Nutrition and Milk Quality Vol. 5 (pp. 99-110). Institute of Animal Science, CAAS, Beijing, China.

Duncan, S. E. (2017). Iron and Copper in Farm and Plant Water and Impact on Milk Flavor. In American Dairy Science Association Annual Meeting. Pittsburgh, PA.

Duncan, S. E. (2017). Preserving milk freshness in retail environment. In Journal of Dairy Science Vol. 100 (pp. 380). Pittsburgh, PA: American Dairy Science Association. Retrieved from

Duncan, S. E. (2017). Light impact on quality of milk. In Milk Symposium: Provide Best Tasting Milk by Protecting it from light. St Paul, Minnesota. Retrieved from

Dadmun, C., Duncan, S. E., & Wang, A. (2017). Efficacy of Material Interface for Minimizing Light Energy and Riboflavin Excitation to Protect Freshness and Nutrients in Milk. Blacksburg, Virginia.

Hand, R., Duncan, S. E., & Wang, A. (2017). Protecting Milk Freshness with Packaging Materials. Blacksburg, VA.

Duncan, S. E. (2017). Protecting food and water quality: Considerations for materials innovation. In AVS 64th International Symposium & Exhibition. Tampa, FL.

Dadmun, C., Duncan, S. E., & Wang, A. (2017). Efficacy of material interference for minimizing light energy and riboflavin excitation to protect freshness and nutrients in milk. In 69th Southeast Regional Meeting of the American Chemical Society (pp. 234 pages). Charlotte, NC. Retrieved from