Research Activities

Elizabeth Prado

Prado and colleagues examine associations between maternal nutrition, maternal cognition, and caregiving in Malawi

Many pregnant women, especially first-time mothers, spend time learning new information about how to care for themselves during pregnancy and planning for caring for their newborn child. After giving birth, mothers are constantly trying to figure out the puzzle of what their infant is trying to communicate to them and how they can best care for their babies' needs. Mothers need optimal cognitive performance, such as the ability to focus and pay attention, memory, and reasoning to do this well, and adequate nutrient intake is necessary for the brain to perform these skills.


Reina Engle-Stone & Steve Vosti

Nutrition proposal has ‘transformative potential’ for Haiti: UC Davis team advises fortifying nation’s wheat supply

She aspires to provide nutritious food to every malnourished child; he wants to do so as efficiently as possible. Together, they and their UC Davis team and in-country collaborators have won global recognition for their proposals to help boost Haiti out of poverty. Agricultural economist Stephen Vosti, nutritionist Reina Engle-Stone and their colleagues weighed the benefits and costs of five nutrition-focused interventions to address the dismal conditions in the tiny Caribbean nation, hampered by ineffective development policies and buffeted by devastating hurricanes that have hindered recovery from an even more deadly 2010 earthquake.


Angela Zivkovic

Zivkovic and colleagues find that HDL composition may help predict health risks and design therapeutics

To most of us, HDLs, or high-density lipoproteins, are simply tiny, cholesterol-rich particles that act as the biochemical “good guys” in the battle against clogged arteries and coronary heart disease. But a team led by University of California, Davis, researchers including Dr. Angela Zivkovic found that not all HDLs are alike. The amounts and specific structure of complex sugars called glycans in these particles can powerfully influence the body’s inflammatory and immune responses.


Bart Weimer

2017 Kosuna Distinguished Lecture in Nutrition with Dr. Bart Weimer

On April 3rd, 2017 Dr. Bart Weimer presented on "Metagenomics, genomes, and host-microbe interactions" for the 2017 Kosuna Distinguished lecture in Nutrition. 


Adult hands hold baby's feet

Dewey, Matias, and Mridha publish articles showing that children get physical and intellectual boost from lipid-based nutrient supplements

Moms and dads caught in the frenzy of raising little ones probably don't realize it, but the first 1,000 days of their children's lives truly are "golden" - precious, that is, in their implications for future growth and development.


Reina Engle-Stone

Reina Engle-Stone helping to improve health in developing countries with flour and oil

Reina Engle-Stone was halfway through her biology degree at Cornell University when she discovered global nutrition.

Her introduction was a nutritional epidemiology class, and almost immediately she was hooked. “You could take biology and apply it to other things. I thought, this is great, this is what I want to do,” she says.


Beth Prado

Elizabeth Prado lead author on paper showing impact of prenatal vitamins on cognitive development in children

For all the moms who obediently popped their prenatal vitamins during pregnancy while  wondering if the supplements could actually benefit their babies, an international research group has the answer, and it’s a resounding “yes.”


Angela Zivkovic

Zivkovic and colleagues publish on the interrelation between breast milk components, gut microbiota, and infant health

In an article recently published in the journal Scientific Reports, Dr. Angela Zivkovic and colleagues found that components in human milk protect infants from infection, promote infant growth, and are associated with the composition of the gut microbiota.


Lipid-based prenatal supplement improves infant health and nutrition in Bangladesh

Since 2008, Kathryn Dewey has coordinated a massive, international research effort called the “iLiNS”, or International Lipid-Based Nutrient Supplements Project. The project focuses on formulating and evaluating cost-effective, lipid-based supplements — much like peanut butter — that have shown promise for improving nutrition for children and women in impoverished nations.

Recent results indicate that fortified, lipid- or fat-based nutritional supplements provided during pregnancy to women in Bangladesh reduced stunting, abnormally low weight and small head size in babies born to these women.


Drs. Haj and Bettaieb

Molecular Pharmacology article by Drs. Haj and Bettaieb selected for research highlights by journal

Drs. Haj and Bettaieb are co-authors on a recently published article in Molecular Pharmacology that was selected for research highlights by the journal.  


Obesity Prevention Program

Childhood obesity-prevention program promotes healthy lifestyles in a rural California Mexican-American community

A culture of health has emerged in Firebaugh, a small, rural agricultural community located in the heart of California’s Central Valley. Home to many farmworker families of Mexican descent, Firebaugh has participated for the past four years in the Niños Sanos, Familia Sana (NSFS, Healthy Children, Healthy Family) childhood obesity prevention study funded by a US Department of Agriculture, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) grant. Early study findings indicate a slower weight gain among obese boys, as well as a reduction in children’s consumption of high-fat, high-sugar foods in Firebaugh, which served as the intervention community for the study. 


Shaping Healthy Choices Program featured as policy-relevant UC research case study in UC Global Food Initiative Research to Policy Subcommittee Report

The UC Global Food Initiative Research to Policy Subcommittee hosted a workshop July 20 on Leveraging Research for Food and Agriculture Policy. For the workshop, the organizers assembled policy-relevant UC research case studies, including a section on the Shaping Healthy Choices Program.

Angela Zivkovic

Zivkovic paper selected for “Top Microbiology Papers” collection by PeerJ.

A recent article by Dr. Angela Zivkovic has been selected for the "Top Microbiology Collection" by PeerJ.

The article, "The microbes we eat: abundance and taxonomy of microbes consumed in a day’s worth of meals for three diet types" can be viewed on their website.

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Drs. Haj and Bettaieb

UC Davis researchers find key mechanism that causes neuropathic pain

Drs. Haj and Bettaieb are among a group of UC Davis researchers who recently identified a key mechanism in neuropathic pain.  Neuropathic pain is a common consequence of both Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, affecting up to 70 percent of patients. The discovery could eventually benefit millions of patients with chronic pain from trauma, diabetes, shingles, multiple sclerosis or other conditions that cause nerve damage.


Angela Zivkovic

Angela Zivkovic on Microbes in our Food

Dr. Angela Zivkovic was recently interviewed for the BacterioFiles podcast regarding microbes present in our food.


PICN Seminar

International and Community Nutrition Seminars Now Online

The UC Davis Program in International and Community Nutrition is now posting their weekly seminars for viewing online.  


Shaping Healthy Choices Program

Shaping Healthy Choices Program - School-based nutrition education program results in fewer overweight and obese children

A school-based nutrition education program developed at the UC Davis Center for Nutrition in Schools is showing promising results. The Shaping Healthy Choices Program (SHCP) is a multi-component school-based intervention developed to improve children’s health.


Breast Milk, Gut Microbiome and Immunity Project

Dr. Kathryn Dewey partners in $8.3 million effort to fight childhood malnutrition

Dr. Kathryn Dewey joins in an international research effort to develop new ways to diagnose, treat and prevent malnutrition in infants and children around the world. The Breast Milk, Gut Microbiome and Immunity Project is funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.


Paul Davis

Walnut diet delivers promising results in mice with prostate cancer

A low-fat diet is frequently recommended for reducing a man’s risk for developing or slowing growth of existing prostate cancer, but a recent study led by Dr. Paul Davis suggests that excluding walnuts may mean foregoing a protective effect of walnuts on tumor growth.


Tiny Packets of Hope

Tiny Packets of Hope - UC Davis leads efforts against malnutrition with a $16 million Gates Foundation grant

A team of international researchers, led by UC Davis nutrition professor Kathryn Dewey, are developing and testing new solutions to prevent malnutrition in vulnerable populations.



Diagnosing pneumonia: Getting it right

Doctors may soon be able to quickly and accurately diagnose the cause of pneumonialike symptoms by examining the chemicals found in a patient’s urine, suggests a new study led by Dr. Carolyn Slupsky.



Study completed in Ghana by UC Davis researchers shows that infants who consumed a fat-based nutrient supplement from 6 to 12 months of age showed no deficit in growth or motor development

Recent graduate of the UC Davis Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology Ph.D. program, Dr. Seth Adu-Afarwuah and Nutrition Department professor Dr. Kay Dewey have completed a study in Ghana which showed that infants who consumed a fat-based nutrient supplement showed no deficit in either growth or gross motor development compared to international standards.