Faculty Profile: Mohamad Abiad
An academic with professional experience in the food industry for six years, Mohamad Abiad joined the Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences as assistant professor in Nutrition and Food Science in mid-September. With grandparents who used to import and distribute food coloring and flavoring, Abiad’s interest in the food business ran deep.
Nevertheless, he started at AUB with a BE in civil engineering in 1998. He worked for six months as a site engineer in Saida, but that experience turned him around. While working for a food manufacturing firm as regional manager of marketing and sales, he also pursued graduate studies at the Lebanese American University, where he received his MBA in management in 2002.
Abiad then joined Purdue University and graduated with an MS in 2004 and, in 2009, a PhD in agriculture and biological engineering, with focus on food and bio-processing. While at Purdue, Abiad filed two provisional patents: the first involved the development of a powder testing technique; the other a new cork-like product from soy and corn which won first and second prizes in competitions. Abiad holds several food-safety certifications.
This semester, Abiad is developing and teaching a food engineering course to food technology graduate students. During the spring semester he will give food processing and food engineering courses to undergraduates. Abiad, who believes teaching “can greatly impact people and has the potential to change lives completely,” finds that AUB students are “here to learn. What they may lack in academic background, in some areas, they more than make up for with hard work.” Abiad’s research interests focus on powder characterization, rheology (the study of material deformation/flow under stress) applications to food science, the effect of glass transition on product texture and stability, and the effect of processing on aging.
Abiad spends leisure-time in a number of recreational activities. He jogs for half an hour every morning, enjoys fishing, and plays squash. A licensed single engine pilot and scuba diver, Abiad enjoys his hobbies because they enable him to maintain a positive outlook. He believes that “failure is another step towards success,” especially because it teaches the tougher lessons of life.