Centre for Sustainable Nanomaterials Innovation

Iris Joye

Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science


Food chemistry, nanotechnology, gluten, biopolymers, cereal science, protein structure and interactions

Education and Employment Background

Iris Joye completed her PhD in Bioscience Engineering with a focus on Cereal Science at the University of Leuven, Belgium. She was assistant professor in Food Biophysics at the University of Leuven prior to joining the Department of Food Science at the University of Guelph in 2016.

Research Themes

Prof. Joye’s research focuses on protein structure, chemistry and functionality during cereal processing, and the use of cereal biopolymers to design nanoscale encapsulation and delivery systems for bioactive and food quality-improving molecules. Her research on gluten structures and interactions in baked products will contribute to better mimicking the structure of gluten and subsequent development of better gluten-free breads. Her research on nanoscale biopolymer-based encapsulation could help to better protect bioactive ingredients such as water-soluble vitamins and colourants from degradation during food storage and processing. The design and characterization of biopolymer-based delivery systems can revolutionize the food sector by improving overall food quality and safety and making food more nutritious.

Her research currently focuses on the following major themes:

  1. Investigating the network-forming properties of gluten proteins and their impact on cereal processing and cereal end-product quality. Classical protein characterization techniques are combined with more innovative techniques to resolve protein structure, interactions, and functionality. This research will give insight into the optimal gluten network properties for cereal product quality, leading to development of higher-quality cereal products and gluten-free products.
  2. Producing cereal biopolymer-based nano- or micro-particles by liquid anti-solvent precipitation to be used as carrier and delivery systems for bioactive molecules. This research will enable the fortification of food products with bioactive molecules, such as vitamins, while ensuring the molecules remain intact and functional throughout processing, storage and ingestion of the food.
  3. The nanoscale biopolymer structures can also be used as interface-building and stabilizing agents for food applications. These structures would offer an alternative to currently used but unwanted emulsion and foam stabilizer in the food industry.
  4. Molecular characterization of the structures and interactions of added fiber within cereal products. Added fiber improves structural and textural stability of frozen dough and partially baked bread products, in addition to contributing to dietary fibre intake. This research will enable engineering of healthy, convenient and fresh cereal products.
  5. Unlocking more functionality and health benefits from grain products, specifically coloured grains, by altering their nutritional value and increasing the availability of health-enhancing molecules. This is accomplished by investigating the effects of grain selection and postharvest processing by looking at the molecular interactions and structures, as well as the processing and end-product quality.

Full List of Publications


  • Member of American Association of Cereal Chemists (AACC-I), Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), AACC International Annual Meeting Program Team (2017-2018 meetings), Ontario Cereal Crop Committee (OCCC), Professional Advisory Committee of Canadian Celiac Association (CCA)
  • Received Early Researcher Award worth $100,000 from the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation in 2018
  • Held Marie Curie International Outgoing Fellowship (2013-2016)
  • Recently received Canadian Food Innovators grant (2018), NSERC Discovery grant (2017), CFI-JELF award (2019)
  • Leading two OMAFRA projects, related to improving frozen dough products and strategies for adding value to bean-derived food ingredients

Media Coverage

Received $127,500 from CFI John R. Evans Leaders Fund

CFI Invests #1M in U of G Research

Received Canadian Food Innovators funding

Canadian Food Innovators funded research projects 2018-2023

Received Early Researcher Award in 2018

U of G News: Six U of G Profs Recognized With Early Researcher Awards

Protein-based Encapsulation of Bio-actives Research

European Commission: Nano-sized protein particles promise healthy food revolution

Participated in Panel Discussion on the Future of Food

CountryGuide: Big trends drive diverging high and low income food interests

Prof. Joye joins the University of Guelph Department of Food Science

OAC News: New Cereal Science Researcher

Gluten Protein Research

OAC News: Creating delicious (and nutritious) celiac-friendly bread



(519) 824-4120 ext. 52470

Food Science Building Rm. 237