Dr. Venket Rao

Dr. Venket Rao

Dr. Rao completed his M.Sc. and Ph. D. degrees in Food Science from Oregon State University, USA. After being a Full Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, he currently holds the position of Professor Emeritus at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Rao served as the Co-director, Program in Food Safety and Regulatory Affairs, Department of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto, till his appointment as Professor Emeritus. He worked closely with representatives of


the food industry and government regulatory agencies and coordinated issues relating to national and international food safety and establishing regulatory guidelines and standards of identity for food safety. Another major issue was to develop regulatory frame work for making health claims for foods.

His entire academic career was devoted to the areas of food safety, nutrition and health. He has established a major focus in the area of diet and health with particular emphasis on the role of dietary phytochemicals and intestinal microflora. His research has focused on the role of oxidative stress and antioxidants in the causation and prevention of chronic diseases, with particular emphasis on the role of carotenoid s and polyphenols. He is one of the pioneering researchers to study the bioavailability, metabolism, mechanisms of action and biological role of lycopene, a carotenoid antioxidant present in tomatoes, other fruits and vegetables and nutritional supplements. The main focus of his research is to study the role of lycopene in the prevention and management of cardiovascular disease, cancer and osteoporosis. He is credited for bringing international awareness to the role of lycopene in human health.

Another important area of his research activity includes the role probiotics and prebiotics in human health.

He has also carried out research to investigating the relationship between intestinal microflora, immune function and endocrinology, as they relate to human health disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome and psychological disorders.

Microencapsulation and surface coating of nutraceuticals such as lycopene, their particle sizes, stability, bioavailability and biological activity is another area of research he is undertaking currently. He is also interested in the applications of biotechnology in the agri-food-health industries. He has published over hundred publications in scientific journals and participated in many national and international scientific conferences.

He has authored and co-authored several books and book chapters directed towards human health. In addition to editing two books on 'Lycopene and Human Health ' in the past, he has edited and published three other books: Phytochemicals: A global perspective of their role in nutrition and health, Phytochemicals as nutraceuticals, and Phytochemicals - Isolation, Characterisation and Role in Human Health: Global approach to their role in nutrition and health. He is currently editing two new books: Lycopene: Global Perspective of its role in Human nutrition and health, and Probiotics and Prebiotics in Human Nutrition and Health.