Dr. Dohnalek recently served at PepsiCo as head, Technology Scouting and Knowledge Innovation Solutions as well as having a leading role in the corporation’s Global Nutrition Group partnerships and business development. Prior to this, she led Pfizer’s dietary supplement innovation team and the launch of benefit-specific supplements and age and gender-specific multivitamins. Dr. Dohnalek came to Pfizer after more than 18 years with Abbott Laboratories, where she was tapped as the first, and youngest, scientist tasked to deliver a major, comprehensive science and formulation upgrade for Abbott Laboratories’ flagship infant formula, Similac. She started her career as a senior food scientist at Nestlé USA. Dr. Dohnalek earned her Doctorate degree in Food Toxicology with a distributed minor in Medical Microbiology and Preventive Medicine; and a Master’s degree in Protein Chemistry, both from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her undergraduate degree is in Food Science and Technology from Virginia Tech University.
“Margaret excels at identifying ways science can support business expansion by meeting anticipated or felt consumer needs,” said Umasudhan C.P, Valensa’s CEO. “As the health industry continues to suffer from brands espousing false claims and misinformation, Margaret will support Valensa’s mission in providing science-backed nutritional solutions the industry can rely on for the genuine article."
Dr. Dohnalek said her role at Valensa will include senior vice president of research and innovation.
“We’re going to drive science into the business growth strategy,” said Dr. Dohnalek, who is named on six U.S. patents, published or presented more than 10 research abstracts/posters, and co-authored 18 research papers related to nutrition. “My specialty is identifying the key research that will resonate with consumers.”
Dr. Dohnalek also practices her own “recipe science” at home, and feels fortunate to be able to share her talents with The Good Shepherd Home, an orphanage in Cameroon, Africa.
“My husband started recording how I modified typical recipes to make them healthier and tastier,” said Dr. Dohnalek. “It’s not only fun for me, but I love making a difference with food too. Through St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, we’ve found new ways for Sister Jane to use indigenous raw materials to feed their children, and teach them how to cook in ways that make that make food palatable while improving the nutrition profile. I love to bring out the best of nature.”