Rachel Kopec

Headshot of Rachel Kopec

Associate Professor, Department of Human Sciences

Program Area: Human Nutrition

(614) 688-0954

Personal Website


Rachel Kopec joined Ohio State as an assistant professor in Autumn 2016 under the Discovery Themes Initiative “Foods for Health and Metabolomics.” Her lab uses model systems (foods and food processing, Caco-2 intestinal cells, animals) and actual humans in combination with analytical chemistry tools (LC-PDA, LC-MS/MS, untargeted metabolomics) to decipher nutrient/nutrient and nutrient-bioactive interactions. Her group focuses on the interactions that occur with fat-soluble vitamins and phytochemicals (i.e. omega-3 fatty acids, carotenoids, chlorophylls). 

Because the currently available metabolomics tools provide a lot of data with limited interpretability (i.e. limited ability to “make meaning” from the data), her group also collaborates to develop new tools to aid in the identification of unknown metabolites, and to integrate multi “omic” platforms (to leverage knowledge about genes and microorganisms growing in/on human bodies with known shifts in metabolism inside the body).


  • 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

  • Jonnala, B.R.Y., McSweeney, P.L.H., Cotter, P.D., Zhong, S., Sheehan, J.J., Kopec, R.E. 2020. Comparison of the carotenoid profiles of soft smear-ripened cheeses. LWT - Food Science and Technology. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lwt.2020.110241
  • Hammaz, F., Charles, F., Kopec, R.E., Halimi, C., Fgaier, S., Aarrouf, J., Urban, L., Borel, P. 2020. Temperature and storage time increase provitamin A carotenoid concentrations and bioaccessibility in post-harvest carrots. Food Chemistry. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodchem.2020.128004
  • Wang, C., Timári, I., Zhang, B., Li, D.-W., Leggett, A., Amer, A.O., Brüschweiler-Li, L., Kopec, R.E., Brüschweiler, R. 2020. COLMAR lipids database for 2D NMR-based lipidomics. Journal of Proteome Research. 19 (4), 1674-1683; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jproteome.9b0084 
  • Harrison, E.H., Kopec, R.E., 2020. Enzymology of vertebrate carotenoid oxygenases. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta. 1865(11); 158653; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.bbalip.2020.158653
  • Sasaki, G.Y., Li, J., Cichon, M.J., Riedl, K.M., Kopec R.E., Bruno, R.S. 2019. Green tea extract treatment in obese mice with nonalcoholic steatohepatitis restores the hepatic metabolome in association with limiting endotoxemia-TLR4-mediated inflammation. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 63(24):e1900811. https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201900811
  • Bennouna, D., Solano, M., Orchard, T., DeVries, A.C., Lustberg, M., Kopec, R.E. 2019. The effects of doxorubicin-based chemotherapy and omega-3 supplementation on mouse brain lipids. Metabolites. 9(10), 208; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo9100208
  • Zhong, S., Vendrell-Pacheco, M., Heskitt, B., Chitchomroonchokchai, C., Elez-Martinez, P., Failla, M.L., Sastry, S., Kopec, R.E. 2019. Novel processing technologies as compared to thermal treatment on the bioaccessibility and Caco-2 cell uptake of carotenoids from tomato and kale-based juices. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry. 67(36):10185-10194; https://doi.org/10.1021/acs.jafc.9b03666
  • Kopec, R.E., Caris-Veyrat, C., Nowicki, M., Bernard, J.P., Morange, S., Chitchumroonchokchai, C., Gleize, B., Borel, P. 2019. The effect of supplemental iron on lycopene metabolism and absorption during digestion in healthy humans. Molecular Nutrition and Food Research. 63(22):e1900644 https://doi.org/10.1002/mnfr.201900644.R2
  • Grainger E.M., Moran, N.E., Francis, D.M., Schwartz, S.J., Wan, L., Thomas-Ahner, J., Kopec, R.E., Riedl, K.M., Young, G.S., Abaza, R., Bahnson, R.R., Clinton, S.K. 2019. A novel tomato-soy juice induces a dose-response increase in urinary and plasma phytochemical biomarkers in men with prostate cancer. Journal of Nutrition. 149(1):26-35; https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/nxy232
  • Kopec, R.E., Carail, M., Caris-Veyrat, C. 2018. Production, separation, and characterization of apo-luteinoids by LC-MS/MS. Journal of Chromatography B. 1102:45-51. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2018.09.036
  • 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. 108(4):803-813; https://doi.org/10.1093/ajcn/nqy183   
  • 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; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jfca.2017.06.008
  • 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; https://doi.org/10.3945/ajcn.116.150821
  • 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; https://doi.org/10.1039/C7FO00021A
  • 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; https://doi.org/10.3945/jn.116.237115
  • Goetz, H.J., Kopec, R.E., Riedl, K.M., Cooperstone, J.L., Narayanasamy, S., Curley, R.W. Jr., 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; https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jchromb.2016.06.043

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