Food Innovation Center

Collaborating for a healthier, hunger-free world.

New Faculty Member Irene Hatsu

Irene HatsuIrene Hatsu recently joined the faculty of the College of Education and Human Ecology at the Ohio State University, teaching in the Department of Human Sciences Administration. We welcome her as one of the newest members of the Food Innovation Center. 

Dr. Hatsu began her career at the University of Georgia as a pediatric nutritionist, and began her first research project with weight-loss in women who were breastfeeding. The study found that women who exclusively breast-fed had a higher success rate with weight-loss vs. those who did not.  The study also found that babies that were exclusively breast-fed had a leaner body composition than those who did not.  Her research led her to Florida International University where she was able to pursue her PhD in nutrition.  During her time at FIU, her work focused on nutritional needs of individuals infected with HIV.  An ongoing frustration was that participants in her study frequently did not have access to certain foods, thus raising her awareness of food insecurity.

Since then, Dr. Hatsu has continued to focus her research on understanding the relationship between food insecurity, chronic diseases, and other health-related issues. The Ohio State University became the next stop on her journey.  “They have the resources and infrastructure I was looking for” she mentions when asked what made Ohio State most attractive to her.   Although it meant significant change, the opportunity to join the faculty of one of the top research-one universities in the nation made the move from sunny Florida to Ohio an easy decision. 

Food Innovation Center staff had the opportunity to meet with Irene prior to her arrival on campus.  The FIC is uniquely positioned to integrate new faculty into the existing research environment here at the university. “The networking opportunities provided by the FIC have helped me identify people with a shared interest in this field of innovation,” says Hatsu.  “The FIC has made my transition easier because it was the one central hub to find collaborators.” 

Please join us in welcoming Irene to the Ohio State University and the Food Innovation Center.