UJ launches ‘Virtual’ Food Evolution Research Lab (FERL)


UJ launches ‘Virtual’ Food Evolution Research Lab (FERL)


Publishing Date: 8/29/2018 2:00 PM

​The launch of the Food Evolution Research Laboratory (FERL) housed within UJ's School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH) took place on Tuesday, 28 August at UJ's Bunting Road campus.

The University of Johannesburg (UJ) is ensuring it stays at the cutting edge of technology and aims to further its research to align to the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

In this regard, FERL have created a Virtual lab that encompasses traditional research principles but also promotes the use of research through newly innovative and critical thinking mechanisms, which can be transferred through a newly developed website and blog, a range of social media platforms and through virtual reality experiences that engages audiences. FERL has collaborated with Samsung Electronics for the provision of modern technology in order to operate as a virtual lab.

Dr Hema Kesa (Director: FERL) said: '' FERL aims to be recognised as a multidisciplinary and collaborative laboratory within and out of the University of Johannesburg specifically aligning itself to the School of Tourism and Hospitality (STH).  The lab would provide innovative growth within a Pan-African spectrum of the STH, especially within the Hospitality department by promoting growth in research.''

The Food Evolution Research Laboratory established its presence through increased demand and aspirations towards enhancing the lifestyles of people across different ages and generation groups that align themselves towards nutrition, health and wellness through research studies.

Prof Amit Sharma from Penn State University, USA and Advisory Board member of FERL added: ''We are particularly interested in exploring the food choices students are making and the impact it has on their academic performance and educational experiences. We are truly excited to be part of the launch of FERL and are really looking forward to continuing this collaboration with Dr Kesa and the University of Johannesburg.''

FERL will encourage research around the evolution of food: the change in eating patterns with food away from homes, the movement toward healthy eating-combatting non-communicable diseases (NCDs), movement from indigenous diets to Westernised diets with the emphasis on good health and nutrition.

From left to right: Dr Diane Abrahams (Director: School of Tourism and Hospitality Management), Dr Hema Kesa (Director: FERL), Prof Amit Sharma.

  Dr Hema Kesa (Director: FERL)