Hilda Vasanthakaalam

19 Dec 2022

As a Food Scientist embedded with special skills and abilities to improve the lives of communities through good nutrition, I’m interested in the development of plant-based nutritious and safe food products. With over 25 years of experience working in India & Rwanda (Africa), I have exhibited excellent leadership skills in building teams and leading academic and research groups. I have also mentored and equipped junior students [undergraduate and graduate], and academic and laboratory staff. My research focus includes making nutrients available through appropriate processing technologies and adopting custom-designed systems approach in planning foods for the communities and educating them to prevent postharvest loss and food waste. I am currently working with Partners in Health in developing RUTF for malnourished children and working on the adaptability of the Bambara nut [ a leguminous crop] in Rwanda. I have several publications to my credit (https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=y6gW_swAAAAJ&hl=en). While teaching, I adopt problem and project-based methodology to bring out the skills of the students/mentees and desired results. Learning together has built confidence among students and exhibited their skills in research and communication. I have negotiated the Meat Pilot plant facility from UNIDO and competed for several research grants that were obtained from USAID [CRSP Bean & Feed the Future Horticulture], Harvest Plus, Nuffic, UR_SIDA, UR_MSU and the like. Being a visionary, I am a productive leader knowing the skills and capacities of staff and puts them to maximum use for the development of the organization to achieve its goals. I have successfully led as Head of the department and Dean of, the School of Agriculture and Food Science demonstrating 12 years of leadership. I established the Meat Processing Pilot plant and the Fruit Processing Unit and oversaw their functioning. As a home-grown solution, I have established a Centre of Excellence – Research Centre on Nutrition & Food Security [RCNFS] that is underway and targets R&D, Capacity development, and Data Analysis & Management. This is intended to find solutions for enhancing the nutrition and productive capacity of the people not only in Rwanda but also in the EAC and beyond.


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