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IDFA Names Recipients of the 2017 Dairy Research and Teaching Awards

Jul 19, 2017
L-R: Michael J. Miller, Associate Professor of Food Microbiology at the University of Illinois; Jacob Oberg, the Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Weber State University

IDFA recently named the 2017 recipients of two association awards that recognize excellence in dairy processing research and teaching in dairy manufacturing. Craig Jacob Oberg, the Brady Presidential Distinguished Professor of Microbiology at Weber State University, received the 2017 IDFA Research Award in Dairy Foods Processing. Michael J. Miller, an associate professor of food microbiology at the University of Illinois, is the 2017 recipient of the IDFA Teaching Award in Dairy Manufacturing. The awards were presented at the American Dairy Science Association’s annual meeting last month in Pittsburgh, Pa.

Research Award

The IDFA Research Award in Dairy Foods Processing recognizes individuals whose research findings have allowed dairy foods processors to develop new products and to make a significant improvement in the quality, safety or processing efficiency of dairy foods.

Oberg received a bachelor’s degree in microbiology from Weber State College and a Ph.D. in biology with an emphasis on microbiology from Utah State University. He has made outstanding contributions to the dairy industry over the past 40 years, most recently in helping understand the physiology of nonstarter lactic acid bacteria and how they affect today’s cheese manufacturing industry. Oberg also developed innovative methods for the enumeration of lactic acid bacteria in conjunction with nonstarter lactic acid bacteria and has isolated an organism responsible for slits and cracks in cheese, named Lactobacillus wasatchensis.

Teaching Award

The IDFA Teaching Award in Dairy Manufacturing recognizes outstanding teaching of undergraduate students in dairy foods.

Miller received a bachelor’s degree in environmental toxicology at the University of California at Davis and a Ph.D. in food science and environmental toxicology at Michigan State University. He continued his education as a post-doctoral scientist at North Carolina State University before joining the faculty of the University of Illinois in 2006.

Miller has taught a variety of courses, including Introduction to Food Science and Nutrition, Food and Industrial Microbiology, and Advanced Food Microbiology. He follows a teaching philosophy that presents clear learning objectives, uses real-life examples to reinforce academic concepts, provides numerous opportunities for discussion and fosters an open and supportive classroom environment.

For more information, contact Cary Frye, IDFA vice president of regulatory and scientific affairs, at

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