Dr. Ir. Donald Siahaan was born in Jakarta on 3 October 1964. He completed his Bachelor Degree of Agricultural Technology at Bogor Agricultural Institute in 1988. In 1994 he got a scholarship to complete his master course study majoring in Food Science at University of the Philippines Los Banos (UPLB). Furthermore, he got a chance from his supervisor to take straight doctor of Philosophy in Food Science which he successfully completed it in 1999.
He started his work in 1988 as a quality control supervisor at PT Pan Java Bottling Co., Bawen, Central Java. Because of his talent in scientific activities, he continued his work as a researcher in Coconut Research Center, Bandar Kuala, from 1989 until 1993. Many research and community services have been conducted during that period. For instance, he created the design of drying machine for high quality copra (1990), extraction method of coconut oil with bromelain and papain enzymes (1991), harvesting technology of sugary sap and the production of palm sugar (1992), technical guide and harvesting management of young coconut fruits in commercial farming scale (1993), technology of nata de coco production using "Molina" starter (1993).
In 1993, the Coconut Research Center was merged to be the Indonesian Oil Palm Research Institute, and he became a researcher at Processing and Nutrition Group. He continuously generates many important research results, such as the detection technique of hydrocarbon in crude palm oil using capillary gas chromatography (2000), vacuum deodorization machine for small scale frying oil industries (2001), the technology of making sweet evaporated milk based on palm oil kernel (2002), thermal degradation of ?-carotene in the deodorization process of palm olein (2003).
He teaches and supervises students in several universities, as well as being a leader in Training Service and Apprenticeship Unit. He also contributes in the Palm Oil Dissemination Technology Unit.