IAS USP Launches Centre of Excellence of the Periodic Table on Food Initiative


One of nine global Centre of Excellence (COE) of the Periodic Table of Food Initiative (PTFI) was launched at the Institute of Applied Sciences, University of the South Pacific on Saturday, 12 August 2023.

The Centre of Excellence of the PTFI, funded by the American Heart Association (AHA) in conjunction with the Seevare and The Rockefeller Foundation, USA with a “seed grant” of 150,000 USD for a period of 12 months.

Officiating at the Launch, Dr Roy Steiner, the Senior Vice President (Food Initiative) of the Rockefeller Foundation said that PTFI was truly a global effort, “In a world that is continually polarizing and separating; it is encouraging to see scientists work in unity to tackle global challenges of one of the basic needs of people, which is food,” he said.

The PTFI is a system that is designed to transform food systems through data-driven solutions in response to diet-related diseases that account for 1 in 5 deaths around the world.  It is about developing standardized advanced analytical approaches and centralised data processing tools to catalog the biomolecular (chemical compound found in living organisms) composition of the world’s food supply.


IAS will join the network of laboratories by contributing data produced through standardized mass spectrometry-based analytical methods towards a large and robust public reference database of food compositions that will be used by researches and policy makers in food, agriculture, nutrition, and health.

IAS’s partner in this project, the University of Adelaide (Australia) is also one of the nine Centers of Excellence of PTFI. The University of Adelaide has provided training and technical advice on the equipment to be sourced and methods to be adopted.

Dr Vincent Lal, the Manager Laboratory Services IAS said that the COE and the funding has enabled IAS to source sophisticated equipment, “The funding and support by our collaborators from the University of Adelaide will assist in upscaling the IAS Laboratory’s testing capabilities and capacity building.  The Laboratory is on track to acquire a Gas Chromatography Mass Spectrometer (GCMS) in 2023 and an Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometer (ICP-MS) in 2024.”

As part of the launching of the COE, the Rockefeller Foundation will also be committing a further USD 200, 000 for a period of 2 years for the support of Fellowship programs for the Centre.

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