University of South Florida


USF faculty experts available for interviews on unique Valentine’s Day topics, including how AI could influence gift giving

Three bouquets of red roses and baby's breath with wooden hearts on a stick, ready for Valentine's Day gifts.

Conflict and drought are disrupting supply chains, potentially impacting the delivery of flowers and other goods.

With Valentine’s Day approaching, the University of South Florida offers a variety of faculty experts to discuss topics including the ways AI can suggest gift ideas, how supply chain disruptions could impact the availability of gifts and flowers, as well as how the heart responds to romance and love.

Listed below are some of USF’s experts. If there is interest in a topic not listed, USF’s Experts Guide is another resource to quickly locate faculty members by keywords, expertise or college. Members of the media interested in an interview are asked to contact Kevin Watler at or 407-267-8402.

Traditional and sensory marketing trends

Carol Osborne – senior instructor of marketing and promotion management: An expert on consumer behavior, marketing, advertising and branding, Osborne has observed a significant uptick in Valentine's Day marketing this year.

“Fashion brands and clothing retailers are offering curated gifts, style guides for dinners and dates, and heart-themed dresses, tops, sweaters, ties, shoes and handbags. Other popular gifts include plush animals, standard Valentine's flowers, red and pink balloons, chocolate and pricy dinner packages.”

Dipayan Biswas – professor of marketing: An expert in sensory marketing, AI, digital marketing, online shopping and retail atmosphere, Biswas can talk about how color, scent and other sensations play major roles in Valentine's Day-related events and gifts.

“For example, there are specific reasons behind the prominent presence of the red color for Valentine's Day and the role of flowers and floral scents. In addition, AI might play a role in influencing gift suggestions this year.”

How supply chain issues could disrupt floral deliveries and other goods

Seçkin Özkul – assistant professor and director, USF Supply Chain Innovation Lab: An expert on operations and supply chains, Özkul believes weather and conflict could negatively impact the flow of goods through chokepoints in Central America and the Middle East.

“The Panama Canal’s cargo ship capacity has been reduced due to historic droughts. Attacks by Yemen’s Houthi rebels in the Bab al-Mandab Strait are disrupting the waterway connecting the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden through the Suez Canal, through which more than 30 percent of all global container trade passes.”

Rob Hooker – associate professor of marketing and innovation: An expert on supply chain, Hooker can talk about how consumers are seeing floral supply chain challenges and can explain the “cold chain” that brings flowers from Latin America, source of about 80 percent of flowers entering the United States.

“We are seeing labor issues, scarcity of product and packaging, and some lingering supply/demand related mismatches. The takeaway for consumers is to expect to pay more and have less selection and, possibly, simpler arrangements overall.”

How the heart reacts to romantic gestures

Bibhu Mohanty, MD – associate professor – structural heart disease, department of cardiovascular sciences: A cardiologist, Mohanty can explain the physiological response by the heart and cardiovascular system to love, gift-giving and romantic gestures.

Nutritional pros and cons of chocolate

Lauri Wright – associate professor, College of Public Health: A registered dietitian nutritionist, Wright can discuss health considerations around chocolate as a gift for Valentine’s Day, foods that can act as aphrodisiacs and other diet-related topics.

Psychology of romance and platonic love

Anthony Coy – associate professor of psychology: An expert in close and romantic relationships, Coy can discuss how people find and experience love, develop romantic relationships and share strategies to ensure these relationships last beyond the wedding day and the arrival of children. He can also discuss how childhood experiences with parents can shape the relationships we have in adulthood, along with the importance of platonic love and friendships (for example, “Galentine’s Day”).

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