Soy Nutrition Institute


Board Officers/Executive Committee

Ratna Mukherjea, SNI President (DuPont Nutrition & Health)

Ratna Mukherjea, PhD 

Associate Director, Global Nutrition - Protein Solutions

DuPont Nutrition & Health

Dr. Mukherjea currently leads Global Nutrition for Protein Solutions at DuPont Nutrition & Health. The scientists in the group have expertise in the areas of discovery, pre-clinical, clinical and applied research, as well as science communications. While headquartered in St Louis, the group also has regional staff to provide business support in Asia Pacific and Europe. DuPont Nutrition & Health is a leading supplier of innovative, sustainable specialty ingredients and diagnostic tools to help the world’s food producers provide nutritious, healthy, safe and affordable food to address global health challenges.

Dr. Mukherjea has been with DuPont for 4 years.  Prior to her current position, she held faculty positions at Children’s Hospital Oakland Research Institute and University of California, Medical Center, in the Department of Endocrinology, Clinical Nutrition and Vascular Medicine with adjunct appointment in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She has over 10 years of experience in clinical and translational research, dietetics and teaching at academic institutions and food industry. She has expertise in nutrition research strategy, development and implementation of research protocols in dietary intervention as well as stable isotope studies and science communications.

She is active in professional organizations and is a member of American Society for Nutrition, American Heart Association, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and Society for Nutrition Education. She is currently the President for the Soy Nutrition Institute. She has authored peer-reviewed publications and funded grants and presented at several professional meetings.

Dr. Mukherjea received her Bachelors degree in Home Science with a focus in Nutrition from Andhra Pradesh Agricultural University, Hyderabad, India. She was then awarded a fellowship from the Indian Council of Agricultural Research for completion of her Masters degree in Nutrition and Food Science at SNDT Women’s University, Bombay, India. She was a practicing Dietician before she moved to the United States for her Doctoral degree in Nutrition at University of Maryland, College Park. She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at the Western Human Nutrition Research Center, UC Davis.

Dan Farney, SNI Vice President (USB)
Dan farms soybeans and corn on his farm in Morton, Illinois. He and his wife, Mary, have two children, Brian and Laura. This is Dan's second year as a USB director.
Scott Singlestad, SNI Secretary/Treasurer (USB)

Scott Singlestad

Director United Soybean Board (USB)/Soy Checkoff

Scott and his wife, Vicky, grow row crops, soybeans and corn and run a hog operation in Waseca, Minn. This is Scott’s seventh year as a USB director.

Board Members

Nancy Chapman (SANA)

Nancy Chapman, MPH, RD

Soyfoods Association of North America

Nancy Chapman, MPH, RD is a registered dietitian and has a master’s in public health.  She has served as Executive Director of the Soyfoods Association of North America over ten years, so she knows about soyfoods and health, the current and potential markets, and traditional and novel ways to use edible soy protein and soyfoods.  She has extensive experience with nutrition labeling regulations, food safety, child nutrition and other federal food assistance and nutrition education programs and initiatives.  She has maintained a collaborative relationship with soybean farmers and soy product manufacturers. 

Under her leadership, the Soyfoods Association has become the primary resource for scientific information on soy and health as well as on the vast array of soyfoods and soy ingredients.  She collaborates regularly with colleagues in Canada, South Africa, Mexico, Europe, and Asia that represent soyfood manufacturers.  She was initially involved in efforts to obtain FDA approval for the soy protein and heart disease health claim, and has since secured a place for soymilk and soyfoods in the Dietary Guidelines, MyPlate, school lunches and breakfasts, and the WIC food program. 

Before opening her own governmental and public affairs consulting firm, Nancy served four years as professional staff to the Subcommittee on Nutrition, House Agriculture Committee, chaired by Congressman Leon Panetta.  She was an Assistant Professor in nutrition at Bloomsburg State University and a nutritionist for a heart disease research study at the Harvard School of Public Health. 

Linda Funk (The Soyfoods Council)

Linda Funk

Executive Director

For more than 30 years, Linda Funk has chosen a career in food marketing.  Her professional experience has included extensive management experience with two large food and beverage manufacturers, Ambrosia Chocolate and Pepsi-Cola and one of the largest commodity associations, Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB). 

Linda’s responsibilities at The Soyfoods Council include creating the organization itself in addition to developing and executing the soyfood programs. Since the inception of

The Soyfoods Council, the focus has been on developing food marketing programs for the soyfoods category.  These programs include working with the national food and nutrition media, developing chef training and foodservice promotional programs, developing retail programs and promotions, working with manufacturers and their products and developing food sponsorships for local and national food conferences.

Linda has served on the Boards of The American Institute of Food and Wine, International Foodservice Editorial Council, Culinary Institute of America and the Stout University Foundation Board, (Menomonie, WI) where she graduated in 1972 with a BS degree in Home Economics. She has been recognized by HEIB (Home Economist in Business) as Business Home Economist of the Year and received the “Betty” Award, the highest service award that the International Foodservice Editorial Council bestows on its members. Linda also received the award For Outstanding Contributions in Promoting the Awareness of the Nutritional and Health Attributes of Soyfoods from the 9th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment.

Belinda Jenks (Pharmavite)

Belinda Jenks, PhD, RD

Pharmavite LLC

Belinda Jenks, PhD, RD, is the Director of Scientific Affairs and Nutrition Education at Pharmavite LLC.  In her role at Pharmavite, Dr. Jenks leads the nutrition and scientific efforts for consumer products in the mass market including vitamin, minerals and supplement products’ efficacy as well as the GRAS evaluation process for new ingredients. Previously, Dr. Jenks was a senior research scientist at Abbott Laboratories for the Pediatric Nutritionals, Ross Products Division, where she managed, designed, and evaluated clinical research and education material for the infant formula line. She additionally led scientific study of soy at the Solae Company, which included obesity, diabetes, renal function, eye health, successful aging and innovative applications supporting soy and new soy ingredient lines.
Dr. Jenks has extensively published and presented peer-reviewed scientific articles, and lectures regarding nutritional science. She is a member of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition as well as an active member of the Academy of Nutrion and Dietetics.    Dr. Jenks received her PhD in Public Health, Nutrition & Biochemistry from UCLA, her MA in Agriculture in Advanced Human Nutrition from the University of Florida, and her BS in Clinical Dietetics/Nutrition Science from Drexel University. 

Sam Z. Sun (ADM)

Sam Z. Sun, PhD, MPH

Since leaving USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston in 2000, Sam Z. Sun has worked for ADM as a senior nutritional scientist. Dr. Sun’s responsibilities include supporting new ingredient/product development, food safety, and regulatory, scientific and nutrition affairs.

The main areas of focus for Dr. Sun include: design and monitoring of clinical studies, estimate population intakes of food/ingredient/nutrients, model relationships between dietary intakes and health outcomes, support food/supplement GRAS applications, perform statistical analyses for experimental data and databases, support international business growth, and provide suggestions on certain scientific affairs. His work has resulted in numerous scientific publications in the peer-reviewed literature.

Joel Thorsrud (USB)

Joel Thorsrud, Director
United Soybean Board (USB)/Soy Checkoff

Joel Thorsrud has been a USB Director for five years. At USB, he serves as team lead for the Human Utilization and Domestic Marketing Committees and serves on the Aquaculture Initiative. He has made trips to Viet Nam, Thailand, Honduras, South Africa and Mozambique in connection with soybean promotion.

Thorsrud served on the North Dakota Soybean Council from 2003-2009 and was a board member of the National Biodiesel Board representing NDSC and USB.

Thorsrud has farmed for 43 years. He raises soybeans, corn and wheat on his grain farm operation near Hillsboro, N.D, and serve as a supervisor on the Traill County soil conservation district. He has a BS degree from North Dakota State University in Agronomy.

Jim Willers (USB)

Jim Willers

Director United Soybean Board (USB)/Soy Checkoff

Jim and his wife, Jill, farm soybeans, corn and hay on their family farm in Beaver Creek, Minn.  They have three adult children, Jennifer, Joseph and Jerome.  This is Jim's fifth year as a USB director.

Non-Voting Board Members

John Becherer (USB)

John Becherer

United Soybean Board (USB)

John Becherer is the Chief Executive Officer of the United Soybean Board (USB), which is headquartered in Chesterfield, Missouri. He was raised on a dairy farm in central Wisconsin and has strong ties with the agricultural community. John has more than 25 years of management experience and holds a master’s degree in agricultural economics.

John is a distinguished leader in the agricultural community having won the 2008-2009 Ag Leader of the Year award from the St. Louis Agribusiness Club. Each year, the club selects a person who has made a substantial contribution to the agriculture industry in the St. Louis region, either on a local or national scale. A 2009 return-on-investment study found that the soybean checkoff has returned $6.40 in additional profits to U.S. soybean farmers for every dollar invested.

John served as the senior director of development and programs for the Conservation Technology Information Center (CTIC) at West Lafayette, Indiana. John was named senior director of CTIC in July 1991 after serving as executive director since 1988. 

Prior to working for CTIC, John worked as a consultant for Demeter Inc., the nation’s 10th largest merchandising firm. The position helped him develop an international view of the challenges that face soybean farmers today.

Craig Gunderson (National Soybean Research Laboratory)

Craig Gundersen
National Soybean Research Laboratory

Craig Gundersen is the Soybean Industry Endowed Professor in Agricultural Strategy in the Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the University of Illinois and Executive Director of the National Soybean Research Laboratory. He is also a member of the Technical Advisory Group of Feeding America and is the lead researcher on the Map the Meal Gap project.  Previously, he was at the Economic Research Service of the USDA and at Iowa State University.  Gundersen's research is primarily focused on the causes and consequences of food insecurity and on evaluations of food assistance programs. Among other journals, he has published in Journal of the American Statistical Association, Journal of Human Resources, Journal of Health Economics, Journal of Econometrics, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Journal of Nutrition, Pediatrics, Demography, Obesity Reviews, Journal of the American Dietetic Association, and American Journal of Public Health.  His work has been supported by over $10 million in external funding from various government and non-government sources including, among other sources, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Institutes of Food and Agriculture (NIFA); ConAgra Foods Foundation; Canadian Institutes for Health Research (CIHR); American Beverage Association; US Agency for International Development (USAID); USDA, Economic Research Service (ERS); Merck Foundation; National Foundation to End Senior Hunger (NFESH); and USDA, Food and Nutrition Service (FNS).


John W. Erdman (University of Illinois at Urbana)

John W. Erdman Jr., Ph.D.

University of Illinois at Urbana

Dr. Erdman is Emeritus Professor of Food Science and Human Nutrition, Professor of Internal Medicine and Professor of Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois at Urbana.  Dr. Erdman's training and expertise encompass the nutritional and physiological biochemistry of man and animals.  He has authored over 170 original research articles on these subjects and has over 300 total publications including other articles and chapters. 

Dr. Erdman is a member of a variety of professional organizations including the American Society for Nutrition (ASN), the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and the American Heart Association (AHA).  He is past President of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences (now ASN), has been elected Fellow for ASN,  AHA and IFT.  He has been extensively involved with the Food and Nutrition Board (FNB) of the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), where he served on the FNB for nine years, six as Vice Chair.  Among other committees of the FNB, he served as Chair of the Standing Committee on the Scientific Evaluation of Dietary Reference Intakes (DRIs) and is currently Chair of the Committee on Military Nutrition Research.  Recently this committee published the report "Nutrition and Traumatic Brain Injury."

For his extensive contributions to the NAS, Dr. Erdman was named as Lifetime National Associate of the NAS in 2001 and was elected as a Member of the Institute of Medicine, NAS in 2003.  Other honors include: receipt of the Samuel Cate Prescott Award for Research and the William Cruess Award for Teaching from IFT: the Borden Award from ASN; being named as an Original Member in Agricultural Science by ISI as an Highly Cited Researcher (top 0.05%); and several University of Illinois Excellent and Outstanding Teaching awards.  He is a member of the Board of Trustees of ILSI- NA.  Dr. Erdman has is past Executive Director of the Mars Science Advisory Council and is currently Executive Director of the Wrigley Science Institute.  Dr Erdman received his B.S., M.S., M.Ph., and Ph.D. in Food Science from Rutgers University.

Mindy S. Kurzer (University of Minnesota)

Mindy S. Kurzer, Ph.D.
University of Minnesota

Mindy S. Kurzer is Professor of Nutrition and Director of the Healthy Foods, Healthy Lives Institute at the University of Minnesota. She has been at the University of Minnesota since 1989, where she has taught nutrition courses to over 4000 students and performs research on the cancer-preventive effects of dietary compounds, such as soy and green tea, in addition to weight loss, and physical activity.

Dr. Kurzer received a Ph.D. in Nutrition from the University of California, Berkeley in 1984. She was then awarded a NATO Postdoctoral Fellowship, for which she performed research at the National Nutrition Institute, Rome, Italy, and Odense University, Denmark. This was followed by a Postdoctoral Fellowship in reproductive endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco.

Dr. Kurzer has been a visiting scientist at the University of Helsinki, Finland, and at the International Agency for Cancer Research in Lyon, France. She has received the International Life Sciences Institute Future Leader Award, the Ruth Pike Lectureship, Pennsylvania State University, the University of Minnesota Distinguished Teaching Award, the University of Minnesota Excellence in Discovery Award, and the University of Minnesota Best Director of Graduate Studies award. In 2006-07, she was a Committee on Institutional Cooperation Academic Leadership Fellow and in 2008 she received an award for contributions to soy research, given at the 8th International Symposium on the Role of Soy in Health Promotion and Chronic Disease Prevention and Treatment in Tokyo, Japan.


Mark Messina (Nutrition Matters)

Mark Messina, PhD, MS

Loma Linda University

Dr. Messina is the co-owner of Nutrition Matters, Inc., a nutrition consulting company, an adjunct associate professor at Loma Linda University, and the Executive Director of the Soy Nutrition Institute.  He is a former program director with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and while at the NCI he initiated a multi-million dollar research program on the anticancer effects of soy. 

Since leaving the NCI, Dr. Messina has devoted his time to the study of the health effects of soyfoods and soybean isoflavones.  He writes extensively on these subjects, having published more than 65 articles and book chapters for health professionals, and has given more than 500 presentations to both consumer and professional groups in 44 countries.

Dr. Messina is the chairperson of the editorial advisory board of, and writes a regular column for The Soy Connection, a quarterly newsletter that reaches over 250,000 dietitians and other health professionals.  He has also organized and chaired nine international symposia on the role of soy in preventing and treating chronic disease and has organized soy meetings in China, India, Brazil and Italy.  Dr. Messina is the co-author of three books, The Simple Soybean and Your Health (Avery Publishing Group, 1994), The Vegetarian Way (Crown Publishers, 1996), and The Dietitian's Guide to Vegetarian Diets: Issues and Applications (Aspen Publishers, 1996, Jones and Barlett, 2004, 2010).

Steve Veile (Communique, Inc.)

Steve Veile

Communiqué, Inc.

Steve Veile is the moderator for the Soy Nutrition Institute. He facilitates meetings of the board and helps coordinate logistical details for all SNI meetings and conference calls. Veile is managing editor of The Soy Connection health and nutrition newsletter, a post he has held for the past 19 years. In addition, he is project manager for the Soy Health Research Program. Both the newsletter and the research program are projects funded by the United Soybean Board.
In addition to his work with USB, Veile is CEO of Communiqué, Inc., a strategic communications firm providing health and nutrition PR services to clients primarily in the agriculture sector. The firm was founded by Veile in 1979. 
A graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism, Veile serves as an adjunct professor for AdZou, the capstone course for strategic communication majors at Missouri, the world’s oldest journalism school.   

Chris Salisbury

Chris Salisbury


Having served in multiple capacities in both the legislative and executive branches of the federal government, Christopher J. Salisbury has first-hand familiarity with Congress and the federal regulatory process, and his legal experience includes administrative, regulatory, agricultural, international trade and food and drug law. Since joining McLeod, Watkinson & Miller, Mr. Salisbury has devoted the majority of his practice to the broad-based representation of corporations, associations and non-profits, with particular focus on those involved in food and agribusiness. Mr. Salisbury specializes in commodity promotion and research programs, for both agricultural and non-agricultural commodities.

Mr. Salisbury began his career as an aide to Senator Richard Lugar, serving as Professional Staff Member for the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry under then-Chairman Lugar. Mr. Salisbury handled international trade, food aid, marketing and promotion programs, credit and rural development issues for the Chairman. During his tenure on the Committee, Mr. Salisbury was closely involved in a number of major pieces of legislation, including the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002, with particular involvement in the Act's Trade Title. After leaving Capitol Hill, he worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) as Senior Policy Advisor for the Office of International Affairs from 2003 to 2005. At FSIS, he worked on various import and export matters, trade negotiations and was closely involved in a broad array of the agency's regulatory work in both domestic and international contexts. Mr. Salisbury joined McLeod, Watkinson & Miller in 2005.

Mr. Salisbury earned his B.A. at Indiana University, Bloomington and J.D. at George Washington University.