Dr. Maria Velissariou is currently Global Corporate Research and Development (R&D) Vice President and Chief Science Officer at Mars. She oversees science, technology and policy strategies, advocates for the science of food, and partners with stakeholders across industry, academia, government and non-profits to advance the food system.
Before IFT, Maria had a 25-year global corporate career spanning roles in R&D, Manufacturing and Procurement with corporations, such as PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Dow Corning in Europe and USA. She worked in several product categories and corporate roles, most recently as Vice President, Global Nutrition R&D at PepsiCo.
Maria is an advocate for STEM and diversity and sits on the board of the Chicago Council for Science and Technology (C2ST). While at PepsiCo, she was a founding member of the PepsiCo STEM Executive Council, chair of Million Women Mentors (MWM) at PepsiCo, and vice-chair of the Global Committee of MWM at STEMconnector.
She holds a Ph.D. and Master in Biochemical Engineering from the University of Birmingham (U.K.), a B.Eng. in Chemical Engineering from the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, and studied executive leadership at Cornell. She has presented in various conferences and been quoted in several media, such as the WSJ, Axios, & Food Manufacturing.