Professor Dato’ Dr Azhar Mat Easa, the nutrastrategist.
Dr. Azhar was born on 13th April 1969 in Sg Bakap, Penang, Malaysia. Dr. Azhar obtained his first degree of BSc. (Hons) in Food Sciences, from The University of Nottingham, England, in July 1992. He then pursued his studies to a higher level and obtained his Ph. D (Food Sciences), from the same University in September 1996. His thesis title was “Factors affecting Maillard induced gelation of protein-sugar system”.
From 18th October 1996 to 30th December 2003, Dr. Azhar served as a University lecturer before being promoted to Associate Professor on 31st December 2003, and to Professor on 30st September 2009.
Administrative posts held include Program Chairman (Food Technology Program, 2001-2002), Deputy Dean (Academic and Student Development) 2003 to 2007, and briefly in 2009, Deputy Dean (Research and Postgraduates studies) 2010-2014, and 2019- till present. He served as Dean for the same school for five years (2014-2018).
His current job functions include managing the research and postgraduates affair of the school, lecturing, supervising of students in research, conducting research (mainly in the production of functional food and protein function enhancement), consultants in functional food and protein functionalities, refereeing and publication of scientific papers and writing scientific reports and scientific articles.
Other past activities include sitting in the Malaysian Ministry of Health committee for Functional Food (Codex Coordinating Committee on Functional Food Regulation for ASIA), sitting in Penang State Government committee for Science and Technology awareness program and promoting the understanding of integrated quality system development of ASEAN agro-based food industries.
Subjects taught by Dr. Azhar include Introduction to Food Science and Technology, Food Commodity, Food Processing and Preservation, Biochemistry, Nutrition, Thinking Skills and Quality Management of Food.
Dr. Azhar is also involved actively in public services. Since 1997 he has been the consultant to various consultancy projects with Food and Nutrition companies dealing with food supplements and functional foods/beverages. He has been an International Speaker on various topics including Nutrition and Functional Food Science, Research needs of Small and Medium Enterprise of ASEAN, Halal Practice and many more. From the period of 1997 to 2010 he has delivered scientific/educational talks to more than 20,000 people on The Science of Functional Foods and subjects related to quality system in the ASEAN region (Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei). He has been active in helping government agencies with up to date knowledge of Food Science and continuing education; this agencies include The Ministry of Health and The Ministry of Defense. He had also been appointed as a Governing Board Member of an international certification body dealing with quality management system certification.
Dr. Azhar’s achievements in research have been featured in various publications and in the media, including TV3, Berita Harian, The Star, Classic National Radio and numerous others.
Initially his research interest has been on protein functionality (enhancement of protein functions by the use of sugar-protein interactions and cross-linking agents) and then on development of functional foods or ‘almost-illegal products”/ingredients (adding value to foods by converting them to functional or health enhancing products). With the emphasis of the University on sustainability, he has somewhat redirected his research theme towards “Sustainability-Led-Innovative-Manufacturing” or SLIM. This has led to a commercialization of the research product called “Slimmee” currently on sales in the market. As of January 2019, he has been supervising 8 PhD students.