Dr. Olga Padilla-Zakour is a professor in the Food Science Department at Cornell University, Director of the Cornell Food Venture Center, and Managing Director of the Institute for Food Safety at Cornell University. She devotes her time to mentoring students and colleagues, supporting the food industry with direct assistance and educational programs, and conducting applied research to enhance the safety and quality of plant-based food products. Dr. Padilla-Zakour’s academic foundation and industrial experience have been fully integrated into her professional work, which has positively impacted 3,000 processors and entrepreneurs for the commercialization of more than 12,000 food products. In 2017, Dr. Padilla-Zakour received the CALS Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Award. She was awarded the Food Science Advisory Council Teaching Excellence Award by Cornell University Food Science Advisory Council in 2016 and was elected an Institute of Food Technologists (IFT) Fellow in 2014. In 2013, Dr. Padilla-Zakour received the Elizabeth Fleming Stier Award from the IFT and the William V. Hickey Memorial Award from the New York State Association for Food Protection.
Dr. Padilla-Zakour earned her undergraduate degree in Food Technology from the University of Costa Rica and her M.S. (1988) and Ph.D. (1991) in Food Science and Technology from Cornell University.