Dr. Melanie Downs

Associate Professor
283 Food Innovation Center
Lincoln, NE 68588-6205

We believe in the power of every person.

Faculty Profile


Dr. Downs's primary research interests are in food proteomics, with a specific focus on the proteomics of allergenic foods.  The Downs lab utilizes protein mass spectrometry methods to examine several topics associated with allergenic foods, including:

  • Identification and molecular characterization of food allergens
  • Evaluation of food allergen behaviors in complex systems, such as processed food products and physiological environments
  • Development and assessment of analytical tools for the detection of allergenic food residues


  • B.S. Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • M.S. Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Ph.D. Food Science and Technology, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Teaching and/or Extension Activities

  • Teaching: Food Proteins
  • Extension: Food allergen management (through participation in the Food Allergy Research & Resource Program)


  • Downs ML, Semic-Jusufagic A, Simpson A, Bartra J, Fernandez-Rivas M, Rigby NM, Taylor SL, Baumert JL & Mills ENC. 2014. Characterization of Low Molecular Weight Allergens from English Walnut (Juglans regia). J. Agric. Food Chem. 62(48):11767-11775.
  • Downs, M. L., J. L. Kabourek, J. L. Baumert, and S. L. Taylor.  2013. Milk protein allergy.  In:  Milk and Dairy Products in Human Nutrition: Production, Composition and Health, 1st ed., ed. Y. W. Park and G. F. W.  Haenlein, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Chichester, U.K., pp. 111-128.
  • Downs ML and Taylor SL. 2010. Effects of thermal processing on the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) detection of milk residues in a model food matrix. J Agri Food Chem. 58:10085-91.

Research Areas