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Rachel Kopec

Courtesy Assistant Professor, Food Science & Technology
Assistant Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 688-0954

Personal Website


Rachel Kopec is an assistant professor of human nutrition in the Department of Human Sciences. She was initially interested in using chemistry to improve the human condition and spent her undergraduate years studying pharmacy.  However, after discovering the limitations of drug-based therapy, she decided to switch directions and pursue an interdisciplinary PhD in nutrition, where there was a greater opportunity to positively impact human health through disease prevention.  Her thesis work focused on the deposition, metabolism, and bioactivity of carotenoids (the compounds which impart yellow, orange, and red hues to common fruits and vegetables).  She continued her studies on carotenoid metabolism during human digestion throughout her postdoctorate at INRA (Institut national de la recherché agronomique).  

Kopec was hired by Ohio State under the Discovery Themes Initiative Foods for Health, and plans to use targeted LC-MS/MS and metabolomics techniques to better understand the interplay of metabolic pathways of fat soluble vitamin uptake, utilization, and excretion.  She will also use these techniques to study the capacity of chlorophylls to reduce the adverse impact of persistent fat-soluble environmental toxins (like those found in plastics) on human health. Kopec contributes a great part of her success to local and international collaborations with a diverse group of specialties – from horticulturalists to medical doctors to statisticians.   


  • AgreenSkills Postdoctoral Fellow, INRA, 2013 - 2016
  • PhD, Human Nutrition, The Ohio State University, 2012
  • BS, Pharmaceutical Sciences, The Ohio State University, 2006
  • BS, Business Administration, Finance Specialization, The Ohio State University, 2006

Research Interests

Selected Publications

Peer-Reviewed Journal Articles

  • Kopec, R.E., Caris-Veyrat, C., Nowicki, M., Gleize, B., Carail, M., Borel, P. 2018. Production of asymmetric oxidative metabolites of 13C β-carotene during digestion in the gastrointestinal lumen of healthy men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. In Press

  • Kopec, R.E., Failla, M.L., 2018. Recent advances in the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of carotenoids and effects of other dietary lipophiles. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 68:16-30

  • Cooperstone, J.L., Goetz, H.J., Riedl, K.M., Harrison, E.H., Schwartz, S.J., Kopec, R.E. 2017. Relative contribution of α-carotene to postprandial vitamin A concentrations in healthy humans after carrot consumption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 106(1):59-66

  • Kopec, R.E., Gleize, B., Borel, P. Demarchelier, C., Caris-Veyrat, C. 2017. Are lutein, lycopene, and β-carotene lost through the digestive process?  Food and Function. 8:1494-1503

  • Desmarchelier, C., Borel, P., Gonclaves, A., Kopec. R., Nowicki, M., Morange, S., Lesavre, N., Portugal, H., Reboul, E. 2016. A combination of single-nucleotide polymorphisms is associated with the interindividual variability in cholecalciferol bioavailability in healthy men. Journal of Nutrition. 146(12):2421-2428

  • Goetz, H.J., Kopec, R.E., Riedl, K.M., Cooperstone, J.L., Narayanasamy, S., Curley, R.W. Jr., Harrison, E.H., Schwartz, S.J. 2016. An HPLC-MS/MS method for the separation of α-retinyl esters from retinyl esters. Journal of Chromatography B. 1029:68-71

Search Dr. Kopec's complete list of publications

Book Chapters

  • Harrison E.H., Kopec, R.E., Digestion and intestinal absorption of dietary carotenoids and vitamin A. In: Physiology of the Gastrointestinal Tract, Volume II, L.R. Johnson ed. 6th Ed. Oxford, England: Academic Press. 2018. 1133-1151