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Welcome to the Ozturk Lab!

Key Research Interest

The Ozturk lab is interested in the identification and enrichment of potential bioactive components of industrial dairy processing streams. Conventional dairy processing streams produce large volumes of byproducts that we believe are underutilized. As the demand for dairy products increase each year, these byproducts are increasing in volume at a rapid rate.

A key dairy byproduct our lab focuses on, is whey protein phospholipid concentrate (WPPC) which is a byproduct of whey protein isolate production. We aim to look for bioactive components in these byproducts and propose alternative uses for them. We are focused on the characterization of bioactive substances in both dairy based products as well as plant-based dairy imitation products. Through the identification, quantification, and pilot scale enrichment of bioactive products, we place to shift the paradigm surrounding the byproducts produced by the dairy industry.


Portrait of Gulustan Ozturk

Gulustan Ozturk

Assistant Professor

Ph.D. in Food Science (Molecular Microbiology) (2016)

Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology

University of California-Davis

California, USA

M.S. in Food Engineering (with Honors) (2009)

University of Ankara

Ankara, Turkey

B.S. in Food Engineering (2007)

University of Ankara

Ankara, Turkey

Jerina Rugji

Postdoctoral Research Associate

Jerina Rugji worked for the Consumer Protection Agency as a part of the Tirana Municipality for a year. She opened her own family pet clinic where she was a vet practitioner. Her research interests include: dairy science, food safety, functional foods, food microbiology, fermentation, probiotics, prebiotics, public health, microbiome, and plant-based dairy.

On a personal level, she approaches people with curiosity, respect, and confidence. She is inspired by diversity and hopes to always incorporate the unique perspective of the people around her in daily life and work. In her free time, Jerina enjoys reading, hiking, cooking, gardening, yoga and capturing the beauty of the outdoors.

Ph.D. in Food Hygiene and Technology (2023)

Burdur Mehmet Akif Ersoy University

Burdur, Turkiye

M.S. of Science in Veterinary Medicine (2015)

Agricultural University of Tirana

Tirana, Albania

B.S. in Veterinary Medicine

Agricultural University of Tirana

Tirana, Albania

Mitchell Armstrong

Ph.D. Candidate

Mitchell Armstrong is a Lieutenant in the Army National guard and works as a Research Associate under Dr. Gulustan Ozturk. His past research experience include working for Dr. Briana M. Burton at the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an undergraduate and a post-baccalaureate through the UW-PREP program. This research was focused on bacterial competence and the type 7 secretion system. Mitchell’s current researches dairy stream processing through membrane filtration technologies to isolate and enrich bioactive compounds from whey protein phospholipid concentrate, an undesired byproduct of whey protein isolate production. He aims to use these technologies and bioactive substances to mitigate osteoporosis and sarcopenia in mouse models.

In his free time, Mitchell enjoys curling, paragliding and playing Dungeon and Dragons.

B.S. in Microbiology

Certification of Fermented Foods and Beverages

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Wisconsin, USA

Fatemeh (Nassim) Jalil Mozhdehi

Postdoctoral Research Associate

During Nassim’s Masters thesis research, she conducted a study on the influence of Modified Atmosphere Packaging (MAP) on the sensory properties (color, aroma, and flavor) of saffron. After research on sensory properties of food, Nassim was interested to know about human sensory perception and its influence on food choice. Therefore, in 2017, she moved to New Zealand to pursue her Ph.D. in Food Science where she gained expertise in sensory science. Her research accomplishments include taste sensitivity, plant-based diets, food choice, and eating behavior.

Upon achieving her Ph.D., Nassim joined a New Zealand government-funded project as a researcher to develop a novel high-protein snack. In 2022, she joined a government research project at the University of Canterbury, NZ, as a researcher to develop 3D-prnited adsorbents from NZ food waste for nutrient removal from wastewater. Afterwards, she took up a new position as a senior food technologist and quality assurance manager in the bakery industry in Auckland, NZ to develop functional bakery products. Nassim has several years of experience in food quality and HACCP management in Iran. She is excited to join Professor Gulustan Ozturk’s dairy processing lab to conduct novel research on the efficient extraction of dairy compounds, leaving her continuously seeking ways to improve the field of food science and technology.

During Nassim’s free time, she likes to read, run, hike, cook, and try new foods. She is passionate about exploring new recipes and ingredients to create unique and healthy functional food products.

Ph.D. in Food Science (2021)

University of Otago

Dunedin, New Zealand

M.S. in Food Science and Technology

The Science & Research branch of Azad University

Tehran, Iran

B.S. in Food Science

Azad University

Tehran, Iran