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BioME Virtual Coffee Hour: Food & Bioscience

November 30, 2022 @ 10:00 am - 11:00 am EST

Join us for a casual “learn and connect” virtually on November 30th from 10-11am.

Hear from Maine scientists and life science professionals to learn about food science, nutrition, agricultural science and the relationship between bioscience and food. Our speakers will cover topics such as virtual food experiences and concepts for medical devices, caloric restriction and aging research, algae supplements rich in omega-3s, and food science programs at UMaine.

November’s Coffee Hour will feature Dr. Aric Rogers (MDI Biological Laboratory), Dr. Nimesha Ranasinghe (University of Maine and FlaVR Labs Inc.), Deena Sisitsky (PhytoSmart) and Dr. Denise Skonberg (University of Maine). Presentations will be followed by Q&A and the audience will have a chance to connect with the speakers and each other.

The goal of this series is to virtually connect Maine’s life science community and educate attendees about what companies and individuals are doing to advance the life sciences industry in Maine.


Nimesha Ranasinghe, PhD, Co-Founder, FlaVR Labs Inc. and Assistant Professor, University of Maine

Nimesha Ranasinghe is an Assistant Professor at the University of Maine and Co-founder of FlaVR Labs Inc. Dr. Ranasinghe’s research interests include Multisensory Computing, Human-Computer Interaction, and Augmented and Virtual Reality. Nimesha is particularly interested in exploring the concept of ‘Flavor Interfaces’ where computing technologies can be applied to augment the traditional human-food interactions at the dining table. He is well-known for his Digital Taste (a.k.a. Virtual Flavors) and Virtual Cocktail (Vocktail) inventions and featured in numerous media around the world, including New Scientist, New York Times, Time Magazine, BBC Radio, Discovery Channel, and Reuters. Furthermore, he has published his work in several prestigious academic conferences and journals, including the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI), the ACM conference on Multimedia, and the Journal of Human-Computer Studies. In addition, he has received numerous awards for his research works; in 2014, his work on Digital Lollipop was selected as one of the ten best innovations in the world by the netexplo forum at the UNESCO HQ, Paris.

Deena Sisitsky, CEO & Co-Founder, PhytoSmart

Proven executive management track record driving growth in the pharmaceutical industry. For Abbott Diagnostic Division, Deena developed user interface ergonomics for a physician office based clinical chemistry analyzer product line. As Product Manager for Fujisawa-USA, Inc. she developed and implemented awareness for a specialized infectious disease “new to market” drug to include forecasting, budgeting, nationwide physician focus groups, ad agency engagement and interface, soliciting, supervising and publishing the results of clinical studies, while overseeing the regulatory approval process. The campaign resulted in establishing product as “drug of choice” and accounted for 25% of company’s total revenue. As Marketing Communications Director for technology startup, Aerogel Composite, Deena designed and implemented strategic and cost effective marketing communications for state of the art advanced nano-structured carbon and metal composite material that attracted Fortune 100 customers. Deena is responsible for overseeing all facets of PhytoSmart’s business with the goal of making ZipZyme™ the number one choice among pets, vets and pet parents in the Omega 3 marketplace. She received a Bachelor of Arts in History and a Master’s of Business Administration in Science, Technology and Innovation, both from The George Washington University.

Denise Skonberg, PhD, Professor of Food Science, University of Maine

Denise Skonberg is Professor of food science in the School of Food and Agriculture at the University of Maine. She holds graduate degrees in food science and fisheries, and spent several years working in aquaculture extension in Thailand. Dr. Skonberg teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in food chemistry, aquatic foods, food biotechnology, and food product development. Her research program evaluates the application of different processing technologies to promote sustainability of the seafood sector, with an emphasis on reducing seafood waste, generating value-added byproducts, and developing safe and nutritious seafood products. Specific projects focus on characterizing the impacts of high hydrostatic pressure, sous vide processing, and fermentation, on commercially important aquatic foods, including lobsters, farm-raised seaweeds, and invasive green crabs.

Aric Rogers, PhD, Associate Professor, MDI Biological Laboratory

Aric Rogers is Associate Professor in the Kathryn Davis Center for Regenerative Biology and Aging at MDI Biological Laboratory. His lab investigates the interactions between genetics and the environment as they relate to health and aging. In particular, research is focused on genetic pathways involved in nutrient sensing and how healthful adaptation to dietary restriction is controlled by changes in protein homeostasis and mRNA translation. The lab uses the microscopic nematode C. elegans and, more recently, the African Turquoise killifish, to understand how interventions that slow aging work across different species.

BioME Sponsors


November 30, 2022
10:00 am - 11:00 am EST


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