Elvira de Mejia

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Elvira de Mejia
Residence Illinois, United States
Fields Food science
Institutions University of Illinois
Alma mater Instituto Politécnico Nacional
UC Davis

Elvira de Mejia is a professor of Food Sciences and Human Nutrition at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.[1] She is an expert in the areas of food science, food toxicology, and chemoprevention.


De Mejia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemical engineering from the National Polytechnic Institute in Mexico. She went on to receive a master's degree in food science and technology from the University of California, Davis and a Ph.D. in plant biotechnology from the National Polytechnic Institute.[1]


Dr. De Mejia's work has focused on bioactive food components, especially proteins and flavonoids. Her research touches on the health benefits of compounds in certain foods such as legumes, oilseeds, and vegetables.[2]

Her lab has also studied the molecular mechanisms responsible for certain biological effects of teas used in folk medicines. For instance, De Mejia's 2007 study[1] found that consuming 0.5 liters of yerba mate tea increases activity levels of the enzyme that produces HDL cholesterol, and lowers levels of LDL cholesterol. Study participants who drank mate tea had a 10% increase in the level of cardioprotective enzyme PON1, a precursor to HDL, compared to others drinking milk or coffee.[3]

Dr. De Mejia, working with a team including Benito O. de Lumen, Vermont P. Dia, and others, has also shown that lunasin, a peptide found in soy and some cereal grains, has the ability to inhibit the aberrant inflammation that can occur in chronic diseases, including cancer. This discovery was a part of research attempts to create purified lunasin through a more inexpensive means.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "Elvira de Mejia - College of ACES, University of Illinois". University of Illinois. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  2. ^ "Celery, artichokes, oregano kill human pancreatic cancer cells". UPI. 17 August 2013. Retrieved 19 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Mate Tea Lowers Cholesterol". Medical News Today. 2007-10-24. p. 2. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  4. ^ Dia, V. P.; Wang, W.; Oh, V. L.; de Lumen, B. O.; de Mejia, E. Gonzalez (2009). "Isolation, purification and characterisation of lunasin from defatted soybean flour and in vitro evaluation of its anti-inflammatory activity". Food Chemistry. 114 (1): 108–15. doi:10.1016/j.foodchem.2008.09.023.