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The mission of the Soy Nutrition Institute is to identify and determine soy and health research priorities, provide evidence-based information on the impact of soybeans and soy components on human health through a variety of education and outreach efforts and, as funds may be available, facilitate the development and funding of targeted research projects.
The Soy Nutrition Institute is a collaborative organization begun in 2004 through the initiative of the United Soybean Board and soy industry leaders, including global corporations and national associations. Members meet at least twice annually to review and discuss research related to soy and health. Emerging issues are examined with presentations from experts in the field. Literature reviews and primary research are commissioned by SNI, as funding allows.
VALUE TO THE INDUSTRY
The Soy Nutrition Institute provides value to the soy industry as it:
• Provides a process for the review and discussion of emerging soy research.
• Provides a forum for discussion within the industry and academia.
• Provides evidenced-based messaging through blogs, social media and other outreach platforms.
• Serves as a credible resource for information on soy nutrition.
Soyfood companies worldwide are invited to become members of the Soy Nutrition Institute. Members are invited to attend two meetings per year and participate fully in discussions about the latest soy research.
Membership includes access to the “Members Only” section of our website and updates from SNI members for the benefit of all.
IS YOUR COMPANY INTERESTED IN BECOMING A MEMBER? APPLY BELOW.
BOARD OFFICERS/EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Michelle Braun is a nutrition scientist with experience in clinical research and nutrition translation. Over the course of her training and career, she has demonstrated strength in research design and implementation, research strategy, and communication of science to various audiences via presentations and publications through coordinated strategic outreach.
She is currently the Global Protein Scientific Affairs Lead at DuPont Nutrition & Health. Dr. Braun has led research related to child nutrition and has conducted several clinical trials related to protein and mineral metabolism in children. She is active in several organizations related to the field and has served in volunteer leadership roles with the American Society for Nutrition, the Institute for Food Technology, the International Life Sciences Institute, the International Food Information Council, and the Soyfoods Association of North America. She earned her Doctorate and Masters degrees in Foods and Nutrition from Purdue University with a BS in Nutrition Science from Indiana University.
Jessica Kiel is a registered, licensed dietitian, a certified personal trainer by the National Academy of Sports Medicine, and a certified clinical research professional.
Currently, Jessica serves as the Clinical Research Manager of Medifast, Inc., a Maryland-based company specializing in the use of meal replacements as part of an innovative, evidence-based solution for weight management and health promotion.
As a member of Medifast’s Scientific and Clinical Affairs team, Jessica provides nutrition expertise on a wide range of product and program-related topics; designs, executes, and manages all stages of in-house research and investigator-initiated clinical trials; oversees the Medifast Scientific Advisory Board; and works collaboratively to substantiate new and existing marketing claims.
Jessica is a member of many professional organizations, including the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Society of Clinical Research Professionals, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is an advocate of the Maryland Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (MAND), where she has held several leadership positions, including Communications Chair, President-Elect, President, and Immediate Past President. Jessica is the current President of the MAND Foundation and has been elected to serve as Vice President for the Soy Nutrition Institute and as the MAND House of Delegates Representative in the upcoming year.
Jessica earned her dietetics degree from Central Michigan University, with a minor in Business Administration. She completed her nutrition therapy internship at the renowned Cleveland Clinic Foundation, with a focus on weight management, diabetes education, and disordered eating.
Kevin raises soybeans, corn and processing tomatoes on his farm in Walton, Indiana. He and his wife, Karen, have three children: Nick, Nate and Khyla. This is Kevin’s fourth year as a USB director.
Chris Adamo is Vice President at Danone North America for federal and industry affairs, assisting the world’s largest B Corp with strengthening the role of business in driving social and environmental good for all. Prior to working at Danone North America, Chris spent over a decade at the highest levels of the federal government working on issues related to agriculture, environment and nutrition.
John H. Cox, JD is the Executive Director of the Soyfoods Association of North America, representing manufacturers, processors and distributors of soy-based foods and beverages, and soybean farmers in the United States, Mexico, and Canada. John is an attorney, and experienced association executive and food policy expert. John is a Managing Director with Verto Solutions, an association management and scientific services firm serving food manufacturing trade groups.
John’s trade association experience includes overall strategic management, government relations, marketing, and crisis communications. The associations under John’s leadership have seen significant increases in membership linked to his strategic know-how, team leadership, and creative recruitment programs. John was the Executive Director of the Flavor and Extract Manufacturers Association of the U.S. from 2009-2016.
John also provides legal counsel to associations and their member companies through Verto Legal Solutions (VLS). VLS provides non-profit corporate governance and regulatory counsel to corporations and trade associations. John is the General Counsel to the International Association of Color Manufacturers.
Before founding Verto Solutions, John held positions of increasing responsibility with The Roberts Group, the association management and scientific services company. He also worked for Members of Congress in leadership roles in the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Prior to his time on Capitol Hill, John held positions at Booz Allen & Hamilton, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, U.S. Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency.
John has a Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law, and he is a member of the school’s Federal Externship Advisory Board. He earned a B.A. from Spring Hill College, where he is a member of the National Alumni Advisory Board. John is originally from Alabama, but he lives in Northern Virginia with his wife Francessa and their children.
April Hemmes grows soybeans and corn on her farm in Hampton, Iowa. The goals for her operation are to keep raising crops with production practices that make the soil healthier. This is Hemmes’s fourth year on the United Soybean Board.
She is involved in Iowa Corn Growers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Cattlemen’s Association and Iowa Women in Ag, among many others. She is also on the County FSA board and has served as the County Soil and Water Commissioner for over 25 years.
Hemmes believes that the biggest issue facing the U.S. soy industry is competing with other soybean-producing countries in a world with growing supplies. However, finding new uses for soy, relating the uses we already have for soybeans and helping develop new markets are big opportunities for the industry.
Rochelle Krusemark grows commodity soybeans, high oleic soybeans, corn, cover crops and raises hogs and a cow-calf beef herd with her husband, sons and daughter-in-law in Trimont, Minnesota. She is also a crop insurance claims adjuster. This is her fourth year on the United Soybean Board.
Her family’s operational goals are to transition the farm to future generations of farmers and to serve as stewards of the land and the environment while producing crops and livestock with efficiency to remain sustainable.
Krusemark is a 4-H leader, church youth mentor and is an alumna of the Minnesota Agriculture Rural Leadership Program. She also enjoys watersports, reading, biking, spending time with family and woodworking.
Krusemark believes developing and maintaining domestic and global markets are an issue facing the industry and that high oleic varieties, industrial uses and aquaculture provide potential opportunities.
Harold Stanislawski is the Project Development Director for the Agricultural Utilization Research Institute (AURI). Stanislawski works with AURI’s teams of scientists and innovation and commercialization specialists and project leaders to further the development of agricultural commodities, co-products, renewable energy, food innovation and commercialization, and animal agriculture product development. Organic business growth is part of innovation/commercialization portfolio. Stanislawski is a member of AURI’s Food Thought Leaders Innovation effort and works extensively on soybean utilization outreach and research efforts with the Minnesota Soybean Promotion and Reseach Council.
Stanislawski previously served as the Executive Director of Fergus Falls Economic Improvement Commission in charge of economic development relating to manufacturing, commercial and food, technology, retail and business development, angel networking, and business relations. Stanislawski along with Fergus Falls community and business leaders initiated many projects including the formation of the renewable fuel facility in this west central community. Stanislawski served as the VP of the Greater Minnesota Economic Development Partnership in 2014.
In 1995 Stanislawski was appointed by former Minnesota Governor Arnie Carlson’s administration to lead the Minnesota Department of Agriculture Business Development Services. Stanislawski served nearly ten years in that role under the last three Minnesota Governors (Carlson, Ventura, Pawlenty). Stanislawski worked on livestock retention and expansion and helped shepherd investment into the state.
Stanislawski was a former faculty member of the University of Minnesota Extension Service where he earned the academic rank of Associate Professor. Stanislawski was responsible for educational programming ag business management economics, and business expansion and business retention for the West Central region of Minnesota.
In 2005 Stanislawski was elected to the Board of Governors of DENCO LLC Ethanol facility in Morris, Minnesota USA. The organization produced 30 million gallons of ethanol with over 350 members. In 2007 Stanislawski was one of the original founders of Otter Tail Ag Enterprises LLC 65 million gallon ethanol facility in Fergus Falls, Minnesota USA.
Stanislawski has received many awards including the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota-Crookston and has received numerous Commendations from the last four Minnesota Governors for service to Minnesota. He is a member of Rotary and the Minnesota Economic Development Association, and is chair of the Mstate Community College Advisory Committee of WC Minnesota. He and his wife live in Fergus Falls and have two daughters.
Gene Stoel farms corn and soybeans on his family farm in Lake Wilson, Minnesota. Along with his wife Kathleen, Stoel farms with his son and daughter-in-law. This is Stoel’s second year as a USB director.
Stoel serves as a director on the Minnesota Research and Promotion Council. In addition to farming, he serves on the Murray County Corn and Soybean Growers Association and is a member of the Chandler Reformed Church.
After earning a PhD in nutrition biochemistry at Tufts University, Sam worked at USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging in Boston. Since 2000, as a senior nutrition scientist, he has been working for Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM) with focuses on dietary intakes, public health, food safety, clinical/epidemiological studies and statistics.
Dr. Cuie Yan joined Herbalife Nutrition in June 2017 from PepsiCo (New York). Prior to working with PepsiCo as a Principal Scientist from March 2013, Dr. Yan had been with DSM (Ocean Nutrition Canada) for about 8 years as a Senior Scientist for fortifying Omega-3 fatty acids into a variety of protein based food products. Dr. Yan was one of the youngest full professors in Hubei University before she moved out of China. Dr. Yan holds four degrees including a Ph. D. in Polymer Chemistry & Physics, and a recently completed B.S. in Nutrition. She is equipped with 20+ years of R&D working experience in both food industry & academia; has authored 30+ articles in scientific journals and 3 book chapters; filed 6 patents and commercialized 2 of them that have been generating $30+ million annual revenue. Meanwhile, Dr. Yan has delivered more than 10 presentations in international conferences and forums, and chaired 8 sessions.
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.
NON-VOTING BOARD MEMBERS
Polly Ruhland has provided executive management expertise to the agriculture community for many years. She brings an extensive background in agricultural non-profit management, strategic planning, communications and regulatory compliance to her position serving the directors of the United Soybean Board and the larger soybean community.
Formerly, she was the Chief Executive Officer at Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion & Research Board. She graduated from Colorado State University with a Master’s Degree in Agriculture and University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Communications. She also did post-graduate work at the PhD level in agriculture and rural sociology with an emphasis on grower decision making in cooperative structures.
She has served as the chairman of the Commodity CEO Roundtable, a group of CEOs in research, promotion, and marketing programs. She is an Eisenhower Fellow, a certified mediator, and holds a professional certificate in the Freedom of Information and Privacy Acts.
Marypat Corbett is the Latin America program specialist for the World Initiative for Soy in Human Health.
Corbett previously served as the marketing director for the U.S. Soybean Export Council, where she supported and coordinated U.S. soy’s international oil and human nutrition programs. This global effort optimizes the preference for and expands the international use of U.S. Soy as a food ingredient by differentiating it as the “U.S. soy advantage.”
Corbett’s professional background includes designing and deploying Kynetec/Doane Marketing Research’s global agronomic market intelligence division’s strategy which targeted the pesticide and seed industries; as well as served as an industry liaison to the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department of Agriculture. In an earlier position as the Division Marketing Manager and a Regional Operations Manager for The Pillsbury Company, Corbett was responsible for introducing and growing on–farm feed ingredient demand for the use of fresh U.S. food and beverage industry by-products.
Along with serving as the United Soybean Board appointed delegate to the Soy Nutrition Institute’s board, Corbett is the USSEC staff lead on the United Soybean Board’s Supply Action Team, as well as an ex-officio Director on the American Soybean Association’s, World Initiative for Soy in Human Health Committee; and a member of the American Oil Chemists Society.
Corbett holds a BSc in Agriculture/Animal Industries, from Southern Illinois University.
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).
Lolly Occhino holds a M.S. of Food Science from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. of Food Science from the University of Wisconsin. Lolly’s extensive breadth of experience ranging from large corporations to small businesses. Her range of experiences include varying forms of product development and ingredient applications including the design and analysis of experiments, sensory and shelf life testing to support product formulation and optimization.Working in varying environments over the previous 20+ years, Lolly served multiple customers with individual needs. Recently, she developed a new application for a unique protein ingredient for a large ingredient manufacturer that enjoys great success. At AURI, Lolly conducts and manages applied research and technical assistance for food clients.
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 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.
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 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 served as an adjunct professor for the strategic communication department, teaching a capstone course and PR writing.
Sarah Alsager serves as the acting secretary of the Soy Nutrition Institute and coordinates details for SNI meetings and communications. Alsager is senior vice president of Communiqué, Inc., a strategic communications firm providing health and nutrition PR services to clients primarily in the agriculture sector.