Spotlight: Akinbode Adedeji

International influences have positioned Akinbode Adedeji, known as “Dr. Bode” to his students, to make an international impact. A food engineer in the Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, his research focuses on ensuring everyone in the world has a safe, reliable food supply. Having worked in four countries on three continents, he’s proud to tell people he now lives in the Horse Capital of the World. 

Q: How did you come to UK?
A: I am originally from southwest Nigeria, but I have spent 10 years in Canada. I got my undergraduate and master’s degrees in Nigeria and my doctorate at McGill University. After graduating, I went back to Nigeria and worked for a year and a half. Then I briefly took a position in France before accepting a position at Kansas State University. From there, I went back to Canada to be a research associate at McGill. I accepted a position at the University of Kentucky in 2014.

Q: When did you develop your passion for food engineering?
A: Originally, I wanted to be a chemical engineer, but I didn’t get into that program in Nigeria. I was drafted into the food engineering program, which was the first undergraduate program of its kind in Africa. I decided to stay with food engineering, because I felt like I could make a meaningful impact on humanity using engineering-based solutions.

Q: Can you tell me about your research at UK?
A: At UK, my research focuses in three areas. The first one is underutilized grain value-addition, which are grains that have not been fully explored but have potential for food applications. I’m specifically looking at different cultivars of proso millet grown in the United States. My second area is noninvasive methods for food quality assessment and for safety assurance. By using sound sensors and hyperspectral imaging, we can make sure food is actually what manufacturers claim it to be and prevent food fraud from health and religious standpoints. My third area is developing technology to help farmers in developing countries with storing and handling grain after harvest.

Q: What do you enjoy most about your job?
A: The most exciting part of my job is mentoring students and international scholars who are visiting. I enjoy seeing students come into my classroom. They may not know a lot about the topic at first, but by the end of the class, they are displaying some level of deep understanding and proficiency in the subject. I also enjoy seeing my students doing well for themselves and making an impact in their careers.