Nandika Bandara

Plenary Talk:

Extraction and processing techniques for novel plant-based proteins


Dr. Bandara’s Food Proteins and Bioproducts research program primarily focuses on advancing the fundamental knowledge that will shape the food, materials, and bioproducts industries’ ability to create value-added protein products and advanced technologies to meet growing demands for sustainable protein products. To achieve this overarching objective, the “Food Proteins and Bioproducts lab” is currently working on

1) Integrating material science and nanotechnology to develop protein and other biopolymer-based nanostructures and nanodelivery systems to efficiently deliver bioactive compounds/drug molecules;

2) Exploring novel and sustainable protein extraction and non-thermal processing technologies for developing functionally enhanced value-added protein ingredients from Canadian-grown crops, livestock, and byproduct streams;

3) Exploring renewable biopolymers as a building block for bioproducts and biomaterials applications (food packaging, biomedical materials, adhesives, bioplastics).

In addition to his research activities, Dr. Bandara is currently serving as Secretary of the Protein and Co-Products division of the American Oil Chemist Society (AOCS), and Past Chair of the Food Chemistry Division at the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT). In addition to his primary role at the University of Manitoba, he is an Editor of the Food Chemistry journal and an Associate Editor of the Journal of American Oil Chemist Society (JAOCS).


Pankaj Bhowmik

Plenary Talk:

Advancements in genetic techniques to create sustainable plant protein


Dr. Pankaj Bhowmik is a Senior Research Officer and Team Lead of the National Research Council of Canada’s Aquatic and Crop Resource Development Research Centre’s Advanced Plant Biotechnology Team. He brings a wealth of expertise in the field of advanced plant biotechnology and crop improvement. Dr. Bhowmik also plays a pivotal role as the Scientific Support Lead of the Sustainable Protein Production program, which focuses on advancing protein qualities, reducing off-flavours and anti-nutritional factors, and enhancing the processability in pulse crops.

His innovative work includes developing an efficient system for isolating plant protoplasts for validation of gene function and genetic improvement of crops. His team has made significant progress improving pea protein quality through novel breeding and processing techniques.

He and his team have also engaged in providing guidance in nutritional qualities of raw materials and processed products which helped the industry in product development and process optimization for the exploration of novel plant-based ingredients and sustainable food solutions. In addition to his research roles, Dr. Bhowmik is an Adjunct Professor at the Irving K. Barber School at UBC Okanagan and the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba. This position allows him to contribute significantly to research and mentorship in these prestigious institutions.

Stacey Dunn

Panel Discussion: 

Advanced perspective on workforce needs for Manitoba

Lawyer and patent agent with ROBIC

Stacey Dunn is a lawyer and patent agent with ROBIC, an internationally renowned Canadian multidisciplinary firm of professionals including lawyers, scientists and engineers specializing in Intellectual Property and Business Law.  Stacey is based in Manitoba and specializes in the drafting and prosecution of patent and industrial design applications in the field of life sciences, agriculture, industrial machinery, and consumer products. She also provides patentability, validity, infringement, and freedom to operate opinions.

As part of her studies in molecular genetics at the University of Manitoba, Stacey completed a research internship at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, where she worked on formulating and testing Bacillus subtilis bio-fungicides for the treatment of clubroot disease in canola. She also has a keen interest in agriculture and is active with her family’s regenerative agriculture grain operation in rural Manitoba. Stacey joined ROBIC in 2021 after working at an IP boutique in Ottawa.

Jillian Einarson

Panel Discussion: Moderator

Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy

Jillian oversees the implementation of the Manitoba Protein Advantage Strategy and engages the protein sector to work together towards a shared vision of sustainable protein. Jillian brings in-depth knowledge of the food system to ProteinMB with a background in Human Nutritional Sciences and over a decade of experience working in the agriculture and agri-food sector. Her experience with leading teams, public engagement, facilitation, communications, and stakeholder relations informs her collaborative approach to working with diverse, cross-sectoral stakeholders to build partnerships and develop strategic initiatives to achieve common goals.

Jung H. Han

Plenary Talk:

Innovations in cellular agriculture

Chief Technology Officer (Unlimeat, Inc.), Adjunct Associate Professor (Purdue
University, Department of Food Science), and Scientific Editor (Journal of Food Science).

Dr. Han possesses Ph.D. in Food Science (Purdue), M.Sc./B.Sc. in Agriculture (Food Science), M.A. in Counseling Psychology, Certified Food Scientist, Lead Instructor of PCHF, PCQI, FSVP QI. He is currently Chief Technology Officer (Unlimeat, Inc.), Adjunct Associate Professor (Purdue University, Department of Food Science), and Scientific Editor (Journal of Food Science). 

He was Assistant/Associate Professor (University of Manitoba), Principal Engineer (PepsiCo Global R&D), V.P. of R&D & QA (Pulmuone USA), and Senior Director of Food Science (Eat Just & Good Meat).

He is the author of How Flavor Works – The Science of Taste and Aroma (2015) and Problem Solving in the Food Industry (2019) and editor of Innovations in Food Packaging, 1st & 2nd Ed. (2005, 2013), Packaging for Nonthermal Processing of Food, 1st & 2nd Ed. (2007, 2018), Modified Atmosphere Packaging for Fresh Cut Fruits and Vegetables (2011).

He wrote 90 scientific journal articles and book chapters and 8 patents. He received the Purdue Outstanding Food Science Award (2019) and IFT Achievement Award: Riester-Davis-Brody Food Packaging Award (2018).


James D. House

Symposium Chair


Professor & Manitoba Strategic Research Chair in Sustainable Protein

Dr. House is a Full Professor and the Manitoba Strategic Research Chair in Sustainable Protein in the Department of Food and Human Nutritional Sciences at the University of Manitoba in Winnipeg, MB, Canada. He completed his Ph.D. in amino acid nutrition and metabolism from the University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada in 1996. Since arriving at the University of Manitoba in 1998, he has maintained research programs in 3 primary areas:

1) understanding factors regulating sulphur amino acid metabolism in animals;

2) sustainable egg production systems, including novel value-added egg products; and

3) determining factors influencing the quality of dietary proteins.

His research program has trained over 40 graduate students and 16 post-doctoral fellows and research associates, as well as over 40 undergraduate research assistants. His research program has advanced our understanding of factors affecting the utilization of plant- and animal-based protein sources in the human diet. He has received awards from the Canadian Society of Animal Science, the Canadian Society of Nutritional Sciences (now the Canadian Nutrition Society), as well as awards for merit and administrative service from the University of Manitoba. Dr. House has served as President for the Canadian Nutrition Society (2018) and was recently elected (2021) as a member of the Board of Trustees for the newly established Institute for the Advancement of Food and Nutrition Sciences (IAFNS). His research program is funded via NSERC Discovery Grants, as well as numerous tripartite funding programs involving industry and government partners. He is the program lead for the Manitoba Protein Research Strategy.

Ermias Kebreab

Plenary Talk:

Advancements in genetic techniques to modify rumen GHG emissions


Ermias Kebreab is the Associate Dean and a Professor of Animal Science at the University of California, Davis. He holds the Sesnon Endowed Chair in Sustainable Agriculture. Dr Kebreab’s research areas include animal nutrition, mathematical modeling of biological systems, and the environmental impact of livestock. A globally recognized expert, Dr. Kebreab contributed to the 2019 IPCC update focusing on enteric methane emissions. Furthermore, he has co-chaired the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization’s committees on feed additive and methane.

He has authored over 250 peer-reviewed articles and received several awards including Excellence in Ruminant Nutrition and International Agriculture from American Society of Animal Science, and 2022 Chancellor’s Innovator of the year award. Additionally, he served on two committees of The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine on methane and nutrition of dairy cattle. A sought-after speaker, he delivered a TED talk listed as a “must-watch climate talk of 2022” by ted.com. His research was in the top 10 of all research conducted in the entire University of California system in 2021. He was included in the 30 of the top global leaders working toward climate solutions in 2023 by Business Insider. He completed his undergraduate studies at the University of Asmara, Eritrea, and earned his M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Reading, U.K.

Andrea Ladouceur

Panel Discussion:

Advanced perspective on workforce needs for Manitoba

president of bam

Andrea is an innate leader that designs, delivers and realigns strategic and transformation plans in multiple, complex arenas including finance, technology, energy and climate, and health and the economy. She consistently achieves desired outcomes by maximizing partnerships and true collaborations, understanding risks, and unleashing the power and talent of the BAM team to support and elevate the Bioscience industry.

She has spent nearly 20 years in senior leadership positions with Manitoba’s government and currently the President of the Bioscience Association Manitoba. 

Kelley Main

Panel Discussion: 

Advanced perspective on workforce needs for Manitoba

Dean, Faculty of Graduate Studies
Professor, Asper School of Business, University of Manitoba

Dr. Kelley Main started her career at the University of Manitoba in 2007. She received a BA (Hons) in Psychology from the University of Winnipeg, a MA in Psychology from the University of Manitoba and a PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing from the University of British Columbia. She was at the Schulich School of Business at York University for 3 years prior to joining the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba. Dr. Main’s prior administrative service at the UM includes a 5 year term as the Head of the Marketing Department at the Asper School of Business.

Dr. Main’s research is in the area of consumer behaviour and has been recognized with the Park Prize for Outstanding Contribution to the Journal of Consumer Psychology (2010) and the Journal of Consumer Psychology Young Contributor Award (2007). She is currently on the editorial boards of the Journal of Consumer Psychology and the Journal of Public Policy and Marketing. She was also an Associate Editor of the Canadian Journal of Administrative Sciences Marketing Division for 8 years. She has supervised numerous graduate students and has been on the advisory committees of several students across campus. In 2012, Dr. Main won the University of Manitoba Graduate Student’s Association Teaching Award. Dr. Main has taught courses in the undergraduate, MBA and MSc/PhD programs in Marketing.

Dr. Main is committed to working with all graduate students and faculties at UM to support their graduate programs. One key goal is to expand professional development opportunities to provide resources in support of program excellence and the student experience.

Mario Tenuta

Plenary Talk:

Novel green technologies to sustainably produce nitrogen fertilizer

Natural Science and Engineering Council/Western Grains Research Foundation/Fertilizer Canada Senior Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship and Professor of Applied Soil Ecology at the University of Manitoba

Mario Tenuta (B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D.), P.Ag., is the Natural Science and Engineering Council/Western Grains Research Foundation/Fertilizer Canada Senior Industrial Research Chair in 4R Nutrient Stewardship and Professor of Applied Soil Ecology at the University of Manitoba.

His training includes a B.Sc. in Botany and Physical Geography (Toronto), an M.Sc. in Soil Fertility (Guelph), a Ph.D. in Plant Pathology (Western), and Post-Doctoral research in Plant Nematology (UC Davis). The 4R Industrial Research Chair Program is advancing research in nitrogen fertilizer management practices to give farmers and the agricultural industry solutions to achieving nitrous oxide (N 2 O) emission reductions and improved soil health and crop productivity.

A key feature of the Chair program is conducting farm-based research with particular attention to the outreach of findings to farmers, industry and policy-makers to achieve national target reductions in emissions of N 2 O and position towards a path of net-zero food production.

Christine Watson

Panel Discussion: 

Advanced perspective on workforce needs for Manitoba

Vice-President, Academic, Red River College Polytechnic

Dr. Christine Watson has served in Canadian higher education senior administration, leadership, teaching and research roles for the last 20+ years. She has held administrative and teaching positions at Red River College Polytechnic, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, University of Regina and First Nations University of Canada. She joined RRC Polytech in 2013 and currently serves as the Vice-President, Academic.

Christine holds a Ph.D. in English Literature from University of Queensland (Australia), M.A. (English Literature) from Queen’s University and a B.A. English (Honours) from University of British Columbia. She is married to her wife Alisa and has two sons, two dogs and two cats.


Register for 2024 Manitoba Protein Research Symposium is now open!

This exciting two day event will feature in person networking, plenary talks on sustainable protein, and opportunities for trainees, researchers, and industry members to present their research findings.