Dongjoo Kim is a current PhD student at the University of Florida with an expected year of graduation of 2025. Donjoo completed his Masters degree at the University of Florida and his research focused on volatile and non-volatile flavor compounds in Sugar Belle kombucha, utitilizing GC-MS/O and LC-MS/MS instrumentation. Sugar Belle is a mandarin hybrid tolerant of Huanglongbing (HLB). The research inspired him to pursue a PhD and investigate how to incorporate machine learning techniques and artificial intelligence to complement the testing and data results derived from more standard analytical approaches. As of February 2023, Dongjoo had two current research projects; the first being the untargeted analysis of non-volatile taste compounds in kombucha and the second is generating a library of volatile compounds in food products to create a machine learning model to predict flavor characteristics of new products.
Donjoo’s career goals are to discover novel taste modulators and develop models to predict sensory characteristics of foods and food products without extensive sensory test. A machine learning model can be developed using the physiochemical properties of existing taste modulators to predict the probability of taste-modulating effects of compounds of interest, which can accelerate the discovery of novel compounds with taste-modulating effects. Predicting the sensory aspects of foods and food products can be also done by machine learning techniques. The data from instrumental analysis, known physiochemical characteristics, and structure information of compounds can be used to train a model to predict sensory aspects without sensory testing with human participants, especially advantageous for large numbers of samples that cannot be done simultaneously due to fatigue. He is excited to continue using these techniques to analyze more extensive and complicated tasks to explore “untouched areas” and learn the unique characteristics of foods. He envisions himself as a top specialist in flavor chemistry, specifically in a desired profession as a professor and mentor for future researchers. He sees himself as an expert in applying machine learning techniques in flavor chemistry and analyzing and discovering unknown characteristics of chemical compounds and foods.