North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station


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Research Profile - Senay Simsek

“I am passionate about promoting, not only North Dakota’s, but also wheat of the Northern Plains.  So, if I hear a baker from a country a thousand miles away talking about ND wheat quality being #1 in the world, that makes me happy.”

Name: Senay Simsek
Location: Harris 209
Web Site:

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The Researcher

Dr. Simsek is an assistant professor and cereal scientist in the Department of Plant Sciences at NDSU.  She earned a B.S. degree in chemistry in 1998 and MS degree in biochemistry from Gebze Institute of Technology in Turkey.  She always wanted to be a professor, so decided to continue her education, receiving a Ph.D. degree at Purdue University in food science in December, 2006.  She started at NDSU in 2007 as an assistant professor.  Her research focuses on the effects of the chemical composition of wheat (particularly hard red spring wheat) on end-product quality.

The Research

Dr. Simsek is in charge of the hard red spring wheat quality laboratories at NDSU, analyzing thousands of hard red spring lines each year for their flour and baking quality profiles. Analyzing these samples is no small feat.  During busy months the lab runs 24 hours a day to make sure the quality analysis is done in a timely manner. Her research goal includes performing basic and applied research on hard red spring wheat chemistry and functionality in relation to end-product quality. She interacts with wheat producers, end-users (both domestic and international), breeders, wheat pathologists and geneticists. Her wheat quality related projects are designed to support the marketing needs of hard red spring wheat producers and quality demands of US spring wheat customers. She also is working to develop a nationally and internationally recognized wheat quality and carbohydrate research laboratory.

Why it Matters

Because of its superior gluten strength, more than 50% of ND’s hard red spring wheat is exported overseas, resulting in significant impact on North Dakota’s economy. Part of her job is to highlight the unique quality aspects of ND hard red spring wheat. Also, some of her research projects focus on utilization of hard red spring wheat in new food products. Therefore, market development activities will help farmers in our region sell their wheat to overseas customers.

Student Engagement

Dr. Simsek has four graduate and two undergraduate students working in her laboratories.  She also teaches or co-teaches three classes at NDSU:  Fundamentals of Flour Testing and Baking; Carbohydrate Chemistry; and Advanced Food Chemistry I.

Diverse Connections

Simsek says that diversity in a modern university is a fact of life and she takes advantage of the opportunities it offers. She has graduate and undergraduate students from diverse countries and backgrounds.  She also presents her research results to visiting scientists and trade groups from around the world, individuals who are interested in the quality of wheat that ND has to offer.

Contact Information

Senay Simsek
Department of Plant Sciences
Work: 701-231-7737
Web Site:

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