Diane Dou
Profile

Diane Dou
Connecting the dots between food science, statistics and business development

Diane Dou earned her B.E. in food science and engineering at Northwest A&F University in China; her undergraduate career included study at the University of Western Australia as an exchange student. She expects to receive an M.S. in statistics and a Ph.D. in food science from UC Davis in 2019. Dou has experience in statistical modeling, digital platform design and operation optimization as a consulting intern at a leading CPG company. 

In a nutshell, describe your project or venture.

My research aims to utilize food-based material as carriers for encapsulation to preserve and deliver beneficial and active compounds.

It is fascinating to transform food into functional materials that challenge people’s conventional perception of food, and deliver maximized health benefits of natural compounds.

What’s important about your research or project—and where do you hope to take it?

Nature offers an enormous diversity of potent compounds that can benefit human beings, such as antioxidant and anticarcinogenic polyphenolic compounds. These compounds are not easily accessible due to their active chemical nature. My projects focus on encapsulating bioactive compounds into natural cells, such as yeast and bacteria. The rigid structures of these microbes, which originally were evolved to separate and protect these micro-lives from severe environments, are capable of protecting bioactive compounds from degradation and delivering to target sites in human bodies. The currently patented technology is aimed to help deliver beneficial and natural substances in medicine, cosmetics and food systems.

I am also looking to develop a broad set of skills, including life science research, data analytics and business development, that I can bring together in the future as an effective consultant and entrepreneur. 

What are you most passionate about in your work?

It is fascinating to transform food into functional materials that challenge people’s conventional perception of food, and deliver maximized health benefits of natural compounds.

What was the most important thing you learned at the Entrepreneurship Academy?

The value of networking. I was able to connect with successful entrepreneurs and inspiring fellow students. This experience helped me meet prospective mentors, stay on top of the latest trends in science and industry of different fields, and gain access to invaluable resources that will foster the development of my career and potential business down the road.

What is the most unexpected advice you received from a mentor?

The importance of developing leadership. One of my mentors revealed that the sense of leadership is a fundamental management skill to set direction, build an inspiring vision, and lead a team or organization to the right destination.

Do you plan to participate in the Big Bang! Business Competition? How do you expect this to help you as an aspiring entrepreneur?

I am looking to join a team and participate in the competition! The skills such as preparing a business plan, pitching the idea to investors and refining our plan based on feedback will be invaluable when I am starting my own business. I am also looking forward to exploring the resources for team building, mentorship and networking.

How will your experiences as a Business Development Fellow help you to change the world?

I am inspired to bring positive impact to the world by solving problems through connecting the dots between food science, statistics and business development. By leveraging advanced data technologies such as machine learning, we will be able to solve complex problems ranging from daily lives to specific industries with effective and innovative solutions.