Skip to main content
Close up of lime and lemon slices

Facts & figures

  • 2.4 billion World population increase by 2050 (UN)
  • 4 million tonnes Amount of food Australians waste each year
  • 11 million Australians (50%) self-reported that they had a chronic disease in 2014-15
  • 28% of Australians were obese in 2014-15, a 19% increase since 1995
Centres and institutes_

Centre for Advanced Food Enginomics

Transforming food products and processes for nutrition and health

We address global issues arising from growing and ageing populations and increasing chronic disease, while helping the Australian food industry to deliver a safe, sustainable, secure and competitive food supply.

Food is at the centre of many of society's global challenges: ensuring a safe, sustainable and secure food supply for growing populations; addressing the increasing incidence of chronic diseases; and meeting the issues arising from an ageing population.

There is also an increased demand for high-quality food, the need to minimise food waste and to ensure that the Australian food industry remains competitive in the global marketplace.

The Centre for Advanced Food Enginomics (CAFE) aims to meet these challenges by providing innovative solutions in food products, processes and supply chains to promote human wellbeing globally.

Established in 2017, CAFE comprises a cross-disciplinary cluster of high profile and industry-focused researchers specialised in engineering, agriculture, business, chemistry, molecular biology and medicine.

Interdisciplinarity and open innovation have worked to transform food engineering into a substantive and productive engine in the wider food economy and industry. 

Enginomics integrates the human internal digestion and holistic health focus of certain bio-disciplines with the food processing and production focus of translational engineering.

This is all done within the context of sustainable and socially responsible model that encompasses general human health and environmental sensitivity.

Enginomics integrates:

  • food processing
  • health and wellness
  • food and product engineering
  • consumer safety and personalised food
  • security and sustainability in food chain
  • human digestion system.
  • Conduct transformational research with commercial value for the Australian agri-food sector.
  • Solve ambitious and large-scale problems in food and health to achieve maximum positive impact.
  • Create customised healthy and wholesome processed foods in conjunction with industry to ensure maximum impact.
  • Use underutilised agriculture crops to create new products.
  • Nurture the shift from the 20th century to the 21st century:
    • change the food manufacturing drivers – taste, profit and safety – to  health, environment, visibility and sustainability
    • educate engineers and scientists to be entrepreneurs
    • develop safe and nutritional foods to reduce the prevalence of lifestyle diseases. 

News bulletin board

The Centre for Advanced Food Enginomics Postgraduate Research Scholarship supports commencing PhD students to conduct research into sensors for smart food packaging. CAFE is searching for two exceptional PhD students for an ARC-funded research project on sensors for smart food packaging in two areas: Food Safety, Quality and Traceability; & sensors integrated into the Internet Of Things. Applications close 14 November 2019. Apply now

We're seeking to appoint a postdoctoral research associate with expertise in micro and molecular biology, in depth knowledge about gut microbiome, research experience in the in vitro models of the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) for the investigation of the interaction of nutrients, bioactives, pre- and probiotics with gut microbial communities as well as their physicochemical properties in the GIT. Suitably qualified scientists are invited to apply to lead targeted research in diet-microbiome-health interactions. Applications close 26 November 2019. Apply now

The purpose of this workshop is to explore the intersection of food engineering and personalised food. The workshop brought together academics, industry and government professionals and focused on the key questions on the future of personalised food engineering and food engineering for health.

Topics covered included:

  • the physical mechanism for the digestion of food in the gut
  • the gut microbiome and personalised food
  • future trends in food processing for health.

Presentations included:

  • Professor R. Paul Singh, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis (USA) on understanding physical mechanisms in gastric digestion to develop next generation of foods for healthful benefits. Download slides
  • Dr Mark Read, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney on delivering pre/pro-biotic health benefits and getting them to market by moving beyond the ‘one size fits all’ paradigm. Download slides
  • Associate Professor Gail Bornhorst, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis (USA) on utilising food process engineering to optimise food functional properties. Download slides
  • Professor PJ Cullen, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney on future uses of plasma in food production and food safety. Download slides
  • Professor Fariba Dehghani, Faculty of Engineering, University of Sydney on challenges for future food processing. 
  • Juan Molina on the gut microbiome: a path to personalised medicine. Download slides
  • Katherine Blackshaw on human milk for humanitarian aid. Download slides
  • Chiara Fois on a gut-on-a-chip for the study of food effects on human health. Download slides
  • Dr Farshad Oveissi on flexible sensors for detecting food spoilage.
  • Jessica Tieng and Alison Luk on dietary fibre effects on small intestine structure and function.
  • November 2019: Associate Professor Qihan Dong, Western Sydney University - Preclinical evaluation of plant derived herb medicine in treatment of prostate cancer
  • November 2019: CAFE PhD student seminars - Zahra K.M. Shahrbabaki on 'Smart biodegradable packaging for detecting food spoilage and reducing food waste’ and Jacopo Giaretta on 'Bi-enzymatic sensor for food spoilage detection'
  • November 2019: Dr Peter R Wich, UNSW - Biopolymer-based nanoparticles for applications in drug delivery and immunotherapy
  • October 2019: CAFE PhD student seminars - Wenjia Gu on ‘Sustainable microalgal production of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA)’ and Chao Zhong on ‘Development of a physical stomach model’
  • September 2019: CAFE PhD student seminars - Long Nguyen on ‘Colorimetric sensors for food safety applications’ and Chiara Fois on ‘Intestine-on-a-chip: A new platform for food testing’
  • August: CAFE PhD student seminars - Katherine Blackshaw on 'Making donated milk more accessible through improved processing techniques’ and Alison Luk on ‘Host nutrition manipulation for gut microbiota modulation’
  • August 2019: Phil Morle, Partner, CSIRO’s venture capital fund, Main Sequence Ventures - Venture capital and the planetary health diet
  • July 2019: Associate Professor Ahmad Jabbarzadeh, University of Sydney - Thermo-mechanical effects on the crystallisation of polymers: role of processing condition, size and additives
  • June 2019: Professor Mark Morrison, University of Queensland - Not all methane is created equally: consequences for a diet-induced inflammatory microbiota? 
  • June 2019: Professor Margaret Morris, University of New South Wales - The intersection of palatable food, reward pathways and obesity: role of the brain-gut axis
  • May 2019: Professor Jennie Brand-Miller, School of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Sydney - Carbohydrates – to love or to loathe? The role of quantity and quality in chronic disease. Presentation slides 
  • May 2019: Professor Ute Roessner, Head of School, School of BioSciences, University of Melbourne - Metabolomics – an important piece in the ‘omics puzzle. Audio of the seminar
  • April 2019: Associate Professor Aaron Schindeler, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, University of Sydney - Dietary supplement therapy for genetic muscle weakness
  • March 2019: Professor Bing Wang, Charles Sturt University - Translational nutrition and food science in human biomedical research: current applications and future directions
  • March 2019: PhD candidate Juan Pablo Molina, Centre for Excellence in Advanced Food Enginomics, University of Sydney - Modelling the community dynamics and the emergence of syntropy in the gut microbiome
  • February 2019: Dr Anne Mai-Prochnow, School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of Sydney - Cold atmospheric-pressure plasma for the treatment of biofilms and seeds
  • February 2019: Associate Professor Alessandro Martucci, University of Padova, Italy – Solution processed nanostructured materials for functional applications

The Centre has recently welcomed seven new PhD candidates, Jacopo Giaretta, Wenjia Gu, Zahra Karbalaie, Xinying Liu, Juan Pablo Molina, Chao Zhong and Fran Abedi who started in late 2018.

Additionally, Sophie Pfeifhofer from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) will be visiting the Centre from March to April to undertake some research, as part of the ETHZ exchange program. 

Sahar Biglari has recently been awarded the best oral presentation prize by the Royal Society of Chemistry Committee, following her presentation at the 9th International Nanomedicine Conference held in Sydney in 2018.

During her time at the ARCFPTC, Sahar’s PhD thesis focussed on developing a new platform technology for addressing the challenges that exist in the preclinical trial phase of product development.

She designed a simple and low-cost skin-on-a-chip device that mimics human skin so that it can be used as an alternative to animal models to study the direct effect of naturally-derived compounds on patients who suffer from chronic wounds caused by burns, diabetes, cancer and many other conditions.

Centre Director

Professor Fariba Dehghani
Professor Fariba Dehghani
Academic profile

Latest news