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Dodo nets $275K for peanut research

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Dr. Hortense Dodo, president and chief executive of IngateyGen, is an Elizabeth City-based researcher working on an allergen-free peanut that she hopes could reduce the number of allergy-related deaths.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Friday, October 28, 2016

An Elizabeth City-based research scientist has received $275,000 in federal and state grants for her work developing an allergen-reduced peanut that she hopes will prevent allergy-related deaths.

Dr. Hortense Dodo, president and chief executive of IngateyGen, received a $225,000 small business innovation research grant from the federal government and a $50,000 small business grant from the N.C. Department of Commerce, according to documents.

Attempts to interview Dodo for this story were unsuccessful. But in documents she submitted to the National Science Foundation, Dodo said that the broader impact of her project could be the saving of lives by the prevention of allergy-related deaths.

Food allergies are costing America $25 billion a year, with allergies related to peanuts being a major contributor to those costs, Dodo said in her grant request. She believes her work could reduce those costs.

“The proposed allergen-reduced peanut may provide a significant solution to peanut allergy with the potential to reduce the overall cost of food allergy,” Dodo wrote.

Reducing the incidence of peanut allergies, Dodo said, would have a major impact on the security and peace of mind of those sensitive to peanuts, their families, the schools they attend and the restaurants where they dine.

She also said her work also has the potential to reduce or eliminate the number of lawsuits resulting from peanut allergy incidents. It also could reduce or eliminate the number of expensive food recalls due to peanut contamination, she said.

By developing an allergen-reduced peanut, Dodo said she also could help American peanut growers improve their competitive edge on the international peanut market while also increasing sales by 15 to 20 percent.

According to Dodo’s page on LinkedIn, the researcher is originally from the western African nation of The Ivory Coast. She holds a master's degree in food science and technology from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in food science and molecular biology from Penn State University. She formerly was a professor at Alabama A&M University from 2003-10.

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