Yiming Feng will join Virginia Tech in March as an assistant professor in food process engineering.

Headshot of Feng and an aerial of research facility.
Yiming Feng will join the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in March as an assistant professor in food process engineering.

Born and raised in a coastal town, Yiming Feng grew up with fresh seafood every day during his childhood. Now, his taste for seafood and passion for food science have brought him to the heart of the Virginia seafood industry in Hampton, Virginia, where he'll begin work at the Virginia Seafood Agricultural Research and Extension Center.

Yiming Feng will join the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences in March as an assistant professor in food process engineering in the Department of Biological Systems Engineering and an Extension specialist with Virginia Cooperative Extension.

"My focus is on innovative food processing, process design for food waste valorization, and developing smart sensing and imaging techniques for precision processing and validation to improve the sustainability and resilience of seafood supply chains," noted Feng, who received his doctorate in food science from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

Based out of the new Virginia Seafood AREC facility on the coast, Feng will work alongside farmers and stakeholders to support sustainability and technological innovation in the seafood industry and food processing industries more broadly. 

Center director Michael Schwarz said the new position will address critical industry support needs and add a new level of service from the Virginia Seafood AREC and Virginia Tech to food producers and processors.

"There are a lot of emerging technologies for automation, processing, and packaging," said Schwarz. "This new position will help to move our food sectors into these new marketing opportunities and trends by helping processors and producers to optimize and streamline production and processing and increase revenue through value-added product development."

The position is among a statewide network of faculty and partners under the college's Center for Advanced Innovation in Agriculture and will enhance applied research with impacts spanning aquaculture, controlled environment agriculture, and food safety and processing across agriculture sectors.

"Having Dr. Feng on board will provide relationship continuation, updated program knowledge for modernization and expansion of the technical assistance, services from the engineering research program that the industry relies on," said Bob Lane, who retired last year after 33 years of building the Virginia Seafood AREC's program for processing, validation, and engineering. Lane continues to provide some technical assistance and support to industry stakeholders as an affiliate faculty member.

Before joining the Virginia Seafood AREC, Feng worked at Cal Poly as an assistant professor, at Virginia Tech as a postdoctoral research associate, and at Abbott Nutrition as a product development scientist. In his new post, Feng aims to apply the skills and experience gained through his past research, which involved optimizing technologies for food processing to improve human health and well-being, reducing the environmental impact of food production, and helping to address global food security challenges.

"It is exciting to become part of the VSAREC team, and I look forward to working with the Virginia seafood industry to ensure that the seafood produced and distributed is safe, healthy, and sustainable for both consumers and the environment," said Feng.

Written by Keri Rouse.