International recognition for IFR scientist

24th March 2014

József Baranyi

József Baranyi

Professor József Baranyi of the Institute of Food Research has been elected as a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science and Technology (IAFoST). His election to this distinguished body is in recognition of his outstanding contributions to food science and technology.

The IAFoST is a learned society composed of elected Fellows from all parts of the world.  The Academy promotes, for the benefit of the international community, food science and technology and related sciences.  It serves as a source of scientific personnel and information to support International activities related to food science and technology through the International Union of Food Science & Technology (IUFoST).

Born and educated in Hungary, Professor Baranyi joined the IFR in 1990. A mathematician by training, Prof. Baranyi recognised the potential to solve many food-related problems through the application of mathematical techniques. Working with Dr Terry Roberts, he developed the Baranyi model of microbial growth. This has become one of the most used and quoted models of predictive microbiology. It has allowed other food scientists and technologists to better understand and predict the growth, survival and death of bacteria in food processing.

Professor Baranyi used this model to underpin ComBase, a web-based resource for quantitative and predictive microbiology. He was determined that this should be a free resource for food scientists, technologists, regulators and the food industry. ComBase is now supported as a National Capability by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). A recent independent analysis found that every hour the food industry as a whole saves in research and development through using ComBase is worth £1million. And there is little doubt that its role in reducing the risk of microbial contamination of foods has prevented many consumers from becoming ill.

More recently, Prof. Baranyi’s mathematical knowledge has enabled him to identify the potential of complex networks to better understand and predict the complex interactions in even the simplest food system. He organized the 8th International Workshop and Conference on Network Science to be held in Europe for the first time, to foster interdisciplinary, international communication and collaboration on the application of network science.

Baranyi has led a number of transnational EU research and networking projects. As well as leading ComBase and IFR’s Computational Microbiology research, he is a Visiting Professor, Imperial College, London, and recipient of the Distinguished Service Award by the American Society for Microbiology, for having been on the Editorial Board of the Applied and Environmental Microbiology for 15 years. He has trained many PhD students and visiting scientists from across the world, as well as leading over 60 ComBase workshops. His research papers have been cited over 3,000 times.

Professor Baranyi will be officially recognised by the IUFoST at the 17th IUFoST World Food Congress, which brings together the international food science and technology community to foster relationships, share knowledge and develop strategies towards its mission of Strengthening Global Food Science and Technology for Humanity. The International Union of Food Science and Technology (IUFoST), a country-membership organisation is the global voice of food science and technology. It is a voluntary, non-profit federation of national food science organisations linking the world’s food scientists and technologists. IUFoST promotes the advancement of global food science and technology through its education programmes, workshops, and regional symposia and through IAFoST the International Academy of Food Science and Technology.