Francene Steinberg

About the Department

Welcome to the Department of Nutrition at the University of California, Davis, one of the premier programs in nutritional biology. New scientific discoveries reinforce that nutrition is central to maintaining health and reducing disease risk. This is an exciting time to be a part of the science and application of nutritional knowledge. We invite you to explore our research and outreach programs, teaching offerings and affiliated programs.  

The UC Davis Nutrition Department is internationally recognized for its leadership in teaching, including outreach, and research. With respect to teaching, the department is focused on two goals:

  1. The training of the next generation of nutrition scientists.
  2. The transmittal of nutrition knowledge to our nation's citizenry.

The Department is committed to extending science-based information to the public through local, state, national and international channels. Graduates of the nutrition program at UC Davis are recognized as among the best in the country and are aggressively recruited for positions in industry, government and educational institutes. For sharing accurate nutrition information, UC Davis with the support of UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources is committed to outreach efforts that have the common goal of improving the health of all Americans.

As an example, several programs developed by the Nutrition Department and UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources are aimed at providing critical nutrition and health information to limited-resource families. These programs are geared to helping families make healthful food choices. They have been shown to result in marked improvement in the overall diets of participants.

Another example are the numerous articles written by our faculty for the popular press in English, Spanish and other languages common in our State, ensuring that Californians are well-served.

The research programs on the UC Davis campus are internationally regarded as among the best in the world. Particularly strong programs include those in areas of developmental nutrition; child nutrition; food intake regulation; and the role of diet in modulating an individual's susceptibility to the development and progression of chronic disease. Work contributed by the nutrition faculty at UC Davis has helped to underscore the critical role that a woman's diet during pregnancy and lactation can have on the development of her child. The efforts of our faculty combined with those of others, have resulted in significant reductions in the occurrence of birth defects in this country and improvements in the growth and development of our children during early life.

During the past few years fresh insights have been provided into the factors which control food intake and genetic factors which contribute to the occurrence of obesity. Research in this area is providing exciting and new therapeutic approaches to the treatment of this serious public health problem.

Finally, in the area of diet and susceptibility to chronic disease, nutrition research faculty on our campus have been at the forefront of efforts to understand how substantial changes in a person’s diet may result in dramatic improvements in overall health. For example, recent work by our faculty in the area of antioxidants and health has led to the exciting concept that an individual's susceptibility to the development and progression of numerous diseases, including diabetes, hypertension, macular degeneration and select cancers, may be reduced in part by the eating foods rich in antioxidants. It is envisioned that research in this and other similar areas will result in marked improvements in the health of all Americans in the near future.

Dr. Francene Steinberg, Chair