Dr. Bornhorst is originally from Houghton, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. She completed her undergraduate degree in Biosystems (Food) Engineering at Michigan State University in 2007. Following an internship at Kellogg Company, she began graduate school at UC Davis. She completed her Master’s degree in 2010 and PhD in 2012 in Biological Systems Engineering.
During her PhD research under the supervision of Dr. R. Paul Singh, Dr. Bornhorst investigated physical breakdown and mixing of brown and white rice during in vivo digestion, using a pig model. This work was completed in collaboration with the Riddet Institute at Massey University in New Zealand. After completion of her PhD, Dr. Bornhorst worked as a postdoctoral scholar with Dr. R. Paul Singh on the physical and chemical breakdown and nutrient digestibility of raw and roasted almonds in vivo and in vitro.
From 2013-2014, Dr. Bornhorst has been an Assistant Professor at Michigan State University in the Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering Department, where her research investigated the influence of processing (cooking, freezing, drying) on food behavior during in vitro digestion.
As faculty in BAE/FST, Dr. Bornhorst’s research will focus on quantitative methods to understand material transport, breakdown, and absorption in the gastrointestinal tract to improve food safety and quality, increase consumer health benefits, and optimize food processing operations. Specifically, she plans to work on the development of dynamic in vitro models, which, coupled with in vivo approaches, can be used to further our understanding of the relationship between food processing, food breakdown during digestion, and nutrient absorption. Additionally, she plans to investigate methods to utilize food process engineering to optimize food functional properties, such as nutrient absorption or allergenicity. To enable fundamental understanding of the digestion process, Dr. Bornhorst’s research will also investigate mixing and particle dynamics during peristaltic flow.