Return to Web Version Sigma-Aldrich

Life Science Award in Food & Beverage Safety

Ilona Matus  Analytical Sciences Liaison

Our Life Science Awards recognize the innovation that the academic community brings to the future of life science. It is our goal to foster the development of post-graduate students interested in a career in life science and help advance technologies which can transform the industry.

Following the success of the 2017 awards, in 2018 we called for applications to win a life science award for innovative and effective strategies to promote safety in the food and beverage arena.

From numerous applications covering a wide range of technical and scientific areas, all of them at a high scientific level, a jury of experts from our research and marketing selected four, and these candidates were invited to present their work in an award ceremony at the company headquarters in Darmstadt, Germany.

During the event, the young scientists also had the chance to visit various production areas and have discussions with R&D and marketing staff as well as meet the head of Applied Solutions, Jean-Charles Wirth, who gave some insights and answered questions from the participants.


The candidates with the jury

The candidates with the jury.


The jury had the pleasure to listen to four excellent presentations:

Immanuel Yüce, Justus Liebig University of Giessen (Germany)

“Development of in situ and in silico tools as well as improvement of classical techniques for structure elucidation in planar chromatography” guiding us through analytical chemistry, highlighting innovative proposals of planar chromatography for impurity identification.

Shaokang Zhang , University of Georgia (USA)

“Whole genome sequencing (WGS), a one-stop platform for foodborne pathogen subtyping, characterization and detection” taking the jury on a ride of the benefit of Whole Genome Sequencing for outbreak surveillance and the future potential of this technology for pathogen detection.

Anna Sophia Harrand, Cornell University (USA)

“Effects of strain diversity and growth conditions on subsequent bacterial growth” a very well presented Whole Genome Sequencing based approach outlining a proposal to improve process validation in production.

Yanqi Qu, University of Massachusetts, Amherst (USA)

“Safety and quality analysis of alcoholic and non- alcoholic beverages using surface-enhanced Raman scattering (SERS)” demonstrated how self-assembled nanoparticle mirrors enable implementation of Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering in beverage safety and quality.

All four candidates gave inspiring presentations of their topics, followed by open discussions. It was not an easy task for the jury to make a decision.


The winner of the 2018 Life Science award in F&B safety and €10,000 is Yanqi Qu. The other finalist all received €2,000 for their contributions

We congratulate the winner, but also thank the other candidates for their contributions.


Yanqi Qu (2018 winner)

From left: Jean-Charles Wirth (Head of Applied Solutions), Yanqi Qu (2018 winner), Ian Jennings (Head of Biomonitoring) and Heike Petri (Head of Advanced Analytical & Industrial Testing)