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North Carolina State University’s Mary Ann Lila Named 2024 IFT Fellow, One of the Highest Honors in the Food Science Community

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), a nonprofit scientific organization with global members spanning academia, government, and industry, is pleased to announce that Mary Ann Lila, PhD, Professor of Food, Bioprocessing, and Nutrition Sciences and Director of the Plants for Human Health Institute at North Carolina State University, has been selected as a 2024 IFT Fellow, one of the highest honors bestowed upon a member of the science of food community.

Being recognized as an IFT Fellow is a unique professional distinction given to an IFT member who has achieved career excellence in addition to providing significant service and leadership to both IFT and the science of food profession.

Specifically, all nominees must demonstrate professional leadership through leading conferences, presentations, and other training and development programs; service and leadership to external advisory committees or boards; ongoing volunteer service to IFT; honors, awards, and other recognition within the science of food profession, as well as advancements to the science of food in industry, academia, government, or related organizations.

This year’s IFT Fellows will be celebrated at the Fellows Recognition Forum at IFT FIRST: Annual Event and Expo, which is being held July 14-17, 2024, at McCormick Place in Chicago. Only 10 IFT members out of more 11,000 received this prestigious recognition this year.

“Receiving an IFT Fellows designation is an unexpected honor. I have watched throughout my career some of the most prestigious scientists in food science and human nutrition become IFT Fellows,” said Lila. “They are my role models, my mentors. I never expected to one day be included in their ranks.”

Lila joined North Carolina State University as a professor and the Director of its Plants for Human Health Institute in 2008, where she researches the bioactive compounds found in fruits and vegetables. Just two years into her time at NCSU, she was named as the inaugural recipient of the David H. Murdock Distinguished Professorship, receiving part of a $3 million endowment initiated by Murdock, the former CEO of Dole Foods. She is also an affiliate faculty member at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Previously, she served as a professor at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign for almost 24 years where she was Director of ACES Global Connect and Associate Director of the Functional Foods for Health Program. Her work has spanned across the globe, with her research projects taking her to locales such as Central Asia, Africa, and New Zealand. She is also a past recipient of IFT’s Babcock Hart Award and the Copernico Bronze Medal for Food Science & Nutrition.

Lila received her bachelor’s degree in Horticultural Sciences as well as her master’s degree in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She then received her PhD in Plant Biology from the University of Madison-Wisconsin. She is a member of the Dogwood Section of IFT and currently resides in Kannapolis, North Carolina.

View the 2024 IFT Fellows.

About Institute of Food Technologists

The Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) is a global organization of over 11,000 individual members from more than 100 countries committed to advancing the science of food. Since 1939, IFT has brought together the brightest minds in food science, technology and related professions from academia, government, and industry to solve the world’s greatest food challenges. IFT works to ensure that its members have the resources they need to learn, grow, and innovate to advance the science of food as the population and the world evolve. IFT believes that science and innovation is essential to ensuring a global food supply that is sustainable, safe, nutritious, and accessible to all. For more information, please visit

award, Fellow, Fellows Recognition Forum, food science, human nutrition, IFT