Faculty and Staff Profiles

Dr. Stephan SommerDr. Stephan Sommer, Director Fermentation Sciences

  • Engineering diploma in Beverage Technology, Hochschule Geisenheim University, Germany
  • PhD Microbiology and Wine Science, Gutenberg University Mainz, Germany

Dr. Sommer joined ASU in 2013 to further develop the rapidly growing Fermentation Sciences program. He has more than eight years industry experience in various fields of beverage production including wineries, sparkling wine companies, breweries, table water production, and related fields like laboratories and industrial flavor production. He managed a commercial beverage laboratory and was involved in research projects and student education for the German wine industry. His main research focus is on product stability, beverage microbiology, and wine aging.

Dr. Sommer earned an Engineering Diploma in Beverage Technology from the Hochschule Geisenheim University (Geisenheim, Germany) and a PhD in Microbiology and Wine Science from the Johannes Gutenberg University (Mainz, Germany). His teaching responsibilities include Introduction to Fermentation Science, Sensory Science, Facility Design and Operations, Viticulture, Wine Production and Analysis, Biofuels and Bioprocessing, Fermented Beverages of the World,  and Fermented Meat and Dairy.

Dr. Folarin Oguntoyinbo, Fermentation Sciences

  • BS Microbiology, Ondo State University, Nigeria Dr.Oguntoyinbo
  • MS Microbiology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • PhD Microbiology, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  • Post-Doctoral, Institute of Food Research, Norwich, United Kingdom

Dr. Folarin Oguntoyinbo joined the Department of Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences, Appalachian State University from the University of Lagos, Nigeria where he worked as Professor of Food Microbiology. He was a Georg Forster Experienced Researcher of the Alexander von Humboldt at the Max Rubner-Institut, Institut für Microbiologie und Biotechnologie, Kiel, Germany as well as Newton International Fellow of the Royal Society, UK at the Institute of Food Research, Norwich, UK. Also, a previous visiting guest researcher at the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, FDA, Maryland, USA. He is the recipient of 2016 Food Safety Award for a Professional in a Country with Developing Economy of the International Association for Food Protection (IAFP), St. Louis, Missouri. He is an active member of Society for Applied Microbiology (SfAM) United Kingdom and American Society for Microbiology (ASM).

His research focuses on the molecular microbial ecology of fermented foods and beverages, the biochemical changes, sensory attributes and process optimization. This is aimed at provision of safe foods, improved quality and organoleptic properties through linkage microbiome of fermented foods with their metabolic signatures. In addition, he is testing hypotheses that can support industrial fermentation systems by maximizing microbial in situ growth dynamics, kinetics and functional properties. His research frontiers will continue to address unanswered questions on development of multifunctional starter cultures for North Carolina industrial fermented food and beverage processing, agricultural postharvest value addition, reduction of food waste, improvement of nutritional intake and gastrointestinal health.

Dr. Oguntoyinbo’s teachings include Traditional Fermented Foods and Beverages, Reading and Writing in Fermentation Sciences, Social Implications of Fermented Beverages and Fermentation Microbiology.

Dr. Duygu Ercan-Oruc, Fermentation Sciences

Duygu

  • B.S., Food Engineering, Ege University, Turkey
  • M.S., Food Engineering, Izmir Institute of Technology, Turkey
  • Ph.D., Agricultural and Biological Engineering, Penn State University, University Park
  • Post-Doctoral, Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis
  • Post-Doctoral, Nutrition and Food Science, University of Maryland, College Park
  • Post-Doctoral, Food Science, Penn State University, University Park

Prior to joining the Fermentation Sciences at Appalachian State University as a faculty, Dr. Ercan-Oruc has workedin several multidisciplinary research projects during her appointments at Penn State University, UC Davis and University of Maryland. She also worked as a research consultant for a start-up company where she filed a patent application. Her research interests include applications of novel bioreactor designs for the production of value-added products, optimization of fermentation and downstream processes, and applications of immobilization techniques for the fields of food, pharmaceutical, and agriculture. She also focuses on non-thermal sterilization techniques including pulsed-UV and novel photodynamic processes for the enhancement of the safety of fermented foods. 

During her academic career, she has taught several courses related to Bioprocess Engineering, Food Biotechnology, and Food Biochemistry. Moreover, during her post-doctoral appointment at Penn State University, she has worked on the development of international food safety and processing training programs for Ukraine and for South and East Africa.

She is a member of Phi Tau Sigma-The Honor Society of Food Science and Technology, Gamma Sigma Delta-Honor Society for Agriculture and Agricultural Sciences, American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, and Institute of Food Technologists.

Mr. Daniel Parker, Fermentation Sciences

  • B.S. Ecology and Environmental Biology, Appalachian State University
  • M.S. Molecular Biology, Appalachian State University

Mr. Parker is the Operations Manager for the brewing facility at Appalachian State. He earned a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Ecology and Environmental Biology with a minor in Chemistry and a Master's of Science in Molecular Biology for his study of Mycology. Before moving to Fermentation Sciences Mr. Parker had enjoyed teaching labs in both Biology and Chemistry at Appalachian State as well as managing the Chemistry department stockroom. He is now excited to be a part of the Fermentation Sciences where he manages student and faculty brewing both in the ASU facility and in collaborative sessions with commercial breweries. Mr. Parker also coordinates the Enology / Craft Beverage laboratory for the Fermentation Sciences program, a professional lab that provides chemical, microbiological, and sensory analysis for commercial producers including wineries, vineyards, breweries, distilleries, kombucharies, cideries, hopyards, and barley growers in the region. 

Ms. Christy McAlister, Fermentation Sciences

Ms. Christy McAlister

  • B.A. Global Studies,  Appalachian State University

Christy McAlister is the Administrative Support Assistant for the Fermentation Sciences Department at Appalachian State University. She earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Global Studies with a concentration in German Studies at Appalachian State University. During this time, she studied abroad in France, Germany multiple times, and Austria. She has a variety of work experience, ranging from construction office to medical environments. With a passion for Higher Education, particularly the Humanities & Sciences, Christy is excited to be a part of the Fermentation Sciences in the College of Arts and Sciences. She actively champions and promotes International Education, Study Abroad opportunities, and Foreign Language Education. Christy grew up in Boone, and feels strongly about Environmental Protection and Conservation. Ms. McAlister manages program and program-related budgets, student files and requests, grants and funds, departmental main office communications/functions/documentation, and the Fermentation Sciences website and social media. 

Dr. Brett Taubman, Chemistry

BrettTaubman

  • B.S. Finance, Penn State
  • B.S. Chemistry, Montana State
  • Ph.D. Chemistry, U. Maryland
  • Post-doctoral, Penn State

Dr. Brett Taubman is a faculty member of the A.R. Smith Department of Chemistry at Appalachian State University, engaged in instruction and academic research within Chemistry and Fermentation Sciences. He has earned BS degrees in both Finance and Chemistry from the Pennsylvania State University and Montana State University, respectively, and a PhD in Analytical and Environmental Chemistry from the University of Maryland in 2004. Following his graduate studies, he worked as a Post-doctoral Research Associate at the Pennsylvania State University before joining the chemistry faculty at Appalachian in 2007. Dr. Taubman has successfully developed a pilot instructional brewing facility on the ASU campus and currently serves as President of Ivory Tower, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation with the mission of supporting research and education within fermentation sciences. He helped to develop the four-year degree program in Fermentation Sciences and shares time between that program and the Chemistry Department. He has been brewing and teaching brewing sciences and technology for over 10 years and is a member of the American Society of Brewing Chemists, Master Brewers Association of the Americas, and the Institute of Brewing and Distilling.

Dr. Taubman's current research interests include the development of aroma fingerprints for beers using Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry coupled with Olfaction Detection (GC/MS-O), the isolation and genetic fingerprinting of native yeast and bacteria for use in bioprocessing and waste remediation studies, quantification of alpha and beta acids and essential oils in several varieties of hops currently grown in NC, and the development of a gluten-free beer from non-barley adjuncts.

Dr. Taubman's current teaching responsibilities include Introduction to Fermentation Science, Brewing Science and Analysis, Instrumental Analysis, Quantitative Analysis, Introduction to Chemical Research, Environmental Chemistry, and Introductory Chemistry.