243 Stocking Hall Ithaca, NY 14853, USA

Dr. Alireza Abbaspourrad

Yongkeun Joh Associate Professor of Food Chemistry and Ingredient Technology

Research Focus

Scientific inquiry in the Abbaspourrad Group is at the interface between engineering, chemistry, biology, and physics. We are interested in the fundamental behaviors of soft matter and active soft matter for applications in the food, pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. We are a multidisciplinary group of biophysicists, bioengineers, chemists, and food scientists. Our projects are diverse spanning food science to reproductive technology and fast antibiotic resistance screening using microfluidics. Our current projects in soft matter include, making nutritional supplements more palatable, creating technology for novel encapsulation of sweeteners for enhanced organoleptic properties, and stabilizing colorants from plants. While our current in active soft matter projects include, using microfluidics to study sperm motility, egg isolation for advanced reproductive technology, and fast antibiotic resistance screening

With over thirty team members including graduate and undergraduate students, postdoctoral associates, research associates, a laboratory manager and an in-house science writer/editor, the Abbaspourrad group is prolific; currently publishing more than thirty papers a year and holding thirteen patents. The leadership team, consisting of the principal investigator, two research associates, the lab manager, and staff writer, provides cohesive mentorship and training in project management from initial idea conception to publication.

Soft Matter. Materials that have multiple basic units linked together such as polymers and proteins are considered soft matter. Our group focuses on investigating, developing and designing, soft matter for food applications or using food and agricultural waste to produce value added products such as bioplastics. We have pioneered new methods of encapsulating soft materials stabilizing proteins, increasing organoleptic properties of nutritional supplements, and enhancing the longevity of the color of natural food safe dyes.

Active Soft Matter. Spanning self-organizing biopolymers, to cells and bacteria, active soft matter is a new material classification within soft matter research. We have used microfluidics to study the movement of sperm cells as potential models for other active swimmers as well as gradient cells to assess bacterial resistance. In addition, the use of ultrasound has provided new methods for isolating oocytes (egg cells) from surrounding cells as a next step in improving artificial reproductive technology.

Teaching Focus

Food Chemistry and Ingredient Technology

Additional Links


  1. 2001-2006

    PhD in Organic Chemistry

    Isfahan University of Technology, Isfahan, Iran
  2. 1998-2000

    MSc in Organic Chemistry

    Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Mashhad, Iran
  3. 1994-1998

    BSc in Chemistry

    Ferdowsi University of Mashhad & University of Shahid Beheshti (Lorestan)

Professional Experience

  1. 2022 - Present
    Associate Professor
    Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  2. 2016-2022
    Assistant Professor
    Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, USA
  3. 2009-2015
    Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, SEAS
    Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
  4. 2008-2009
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Center for Semiconductor Components, CCS
    University of Campinas, Campinas, Brazil
  5. 2006-2007
    Research Scientist, Materials and Energy Research Center (MERC)
    Materials and Energy Research Center, Tehran, Iran
  6. 2003-2004
    Visiting Scholar at Nanotechnology Research Centre (NRC)
    University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada


  • 2019
    Rising Star Faculty Award
    Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Science