Debra Freedman, Ph.D., is the new director of the Food Protection and Defense Institute (FPDI) at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Freedman is an experienced educator, curriculum scholar and researcher. She has worked at FPDI since 2014, collaborating with researchers and scholars, government officials (USDA, FDA, DHS), food industry professionals, public school teachers and Emergency Responders (e.g., Rapid Response Teams, Law Enforcement). Her focus is on development of food defense curricula, online learning programs, learning objects, workshops, certificate programs, professional courses and training guides.
“Over the past four years, FPDI transitioned from a Homeland Security Center of Excellence with a large research portfolio to a successful, self-sustaining center focused on workforce development and education in the food defense and intentional adulteration arenas. Deb has been with FPDI for eight years leading the education portfolio so it is a natural evolution for her to assume the director role,” said outgoing director Jennifer van de Ligt, Ph.D. “I would also like to thank everyone for such an enjoyable tenure as FPDI director. The communities of expertise worldwide that this role has offered have been extraordinary. I will carry the experiences into my future endeavors as I transition to a regulatory and scientific affairs role in the private sector.”