Get to Know Pavel Somavat

Somavat is an assistant professor in both food science and biomedical, biological and chemical engineering.

What are your job duties/job responsibilities in the College of Agriculture, Food and Natural Resources?

I work as an assistant professor in the Division of Food, Nutrition & Exercise Sciences (CAFNR) with a 30% appointment in the Department of Biomedical, Biological and Chemical Engineering (COE). My job responsibilities mainly constitute of teaching and research, and currently I teach a course related to fermentation for food, fuel and alcoholic beverage manufacturing every spring semester and another course covering the underlying principles of food processing every fall semester. In addition, I also oversee a research program engaging four graduate students, mainly working with colored corn varieties for the economic recovery of natural food colorants and value-added bioactive compounds.

How long have you worked in CAFNR?

I joined CAFNR in June 2020, so this is my third year here in Columbia.

What do you enjoy about working for CAFNR/Mizzou?

Since my research involves processing of colored corn varieties, being here at Mizzou/Midwest gives me a distinct advantage. I collaborate very closely with Dr. Sherry Flint-Garcia, a USDA-ARS corn geneticist with an adjunct professor appointment in CAFNR. She is interested in growing newer colored corn varieties adapted to the Midwestern climatic conditions, and my research work compliments her efforts by evaluating these newer varieties for their milling and compositional characteristics. Besides, the seniors and colleagues in the department are very kind and supportive, I really enjoy collaborating with them and learning from their vast expertise/experiences.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?

I have diverse hobbies and interests, and consider my current job as a “means to the end” and not the “end” itself. I like reading, mainly history and non-fiction, and also like to travel and learn about different countries and cultures. In the evenings, you can often find me running/stretching in the MizzouRec.

What is something your co-workers/other CAFNR employees don’t know about you?

Before my current specialization in Food and Bioprocessing Engineering, I worked as a researcher in the area of fiberoptics/computer networking and held a tenured Assistant Professorship of Electrical Engineering at a land-grant university in India.