Dr. Au's research involves the assessment of dietary intakes and the food environment for the prevention of obesity in low-income, racially diverse infants and children. Her focus is on understanding how to promote healthier eating and prevent obesity in federal nutrition assistance programs, such as the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children and the National School Lunch Program.
Academic Senate Faculty & Cooperative Extension
Dr. Chondronikola’s research interests include: the role of brown adipose tissue in cardiometabolic health in humans, pathophysiology of obesity and its related metabolic complications (e.g., insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia), nutritional approaches for prevention/treatment of obesity and metabolic diseases, mechanisms regulating carbohydrate and lipid metabolism in humans, tracer techniques in the study of human metabolism in vivo.
Dr. Engle-Stone's research is in global public health nutrition, with a focus on micronutrient nutrition among women and young children in low-income settings. Research themes include planning, monitoring, and evaluation of food fortification programs; cost-effectiveness and coherence among micronutrient intervention programs, and nutritional assessment.
Dr. Fetter teaches Nutrition 10V and Nutrition 10, in addition to conducting research on education and pedagogy. She is passionate about helping people, especially with guiding students to make healthier nutrition and lifestyle choices. She also aspires to help bridge the gap between the science community and general public through teaching and writing about nutrition in an engaging and relatable way.
Dr. Haj's laboratory studies the molecular basis of metabolic diseases, mainly obesity and type 2 diabetes. In particular, we are interested in the role of tyrosine phosphorylation and how dysregulation of this key signaling mechanism contributes to metabolic diseases and their complications. We investigate the role of protein-tyrosine phosphatases and their interacting partners in metabolic homeostasis. This is achieved using a combination of genetic, biochemical, proteomic and pharmacological approaches in various experimental platforms (cells, rodent models of disease and humans).
Dr. Havel is investigating the regulation of energy homeostasis and carbohydrate/lipid metabolism, and the involvement of endocrine systems in the pathophysiology of obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
My overarching goal is to evaluate the risks and opportunities of nutritional factors in enhancing neurodevelopment and host resilience to early-life adverse events (e.g. infection and stress). Our research use neonatal pigs as a translational model, becasue of broad resemblance between pigs and humans in many aspects, such as digestive physiology, components of immune system, anatomic structure of brain and perinatal neurodevelopment. Specifically, our current project investigates how unbalanced iron status in early life affects systemic and CNS iron hoemostasis, susceptibility to infections, brain energy metabolism, and social cognition using nursing pigs.
Dr. Keen's research group is primarily concerned with: 1) the investigation of the influence of maternal diet on the risk for pregnancy complications (mother, and conceptus); and 2) the influence of diet on the risk for age-related chronic diseases with a focus on phytochemicals and vascular health.
Dr. Mackenzie´s research focuses on the role of diet and other lifestyle factors in cancer development and prevention. Current research projects include: 1) Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the link between obesity, inflammation and cancer; 2) Evaluating the role of zinc in pancreatic carcinogenesis; and 3) Investigating the use of select nutraceuticals as potential chemopreventive agents.
Dr. Oteiza has two primary areas of research. The first is centered on the characterization of the effects of trace mineral deficiencies and trace mineral toxicities on early developmental processes. Dr. Oteiza´s second area of research is focused on the putative health benefits of flavonoids.
Dr. Prado's research interests include the effect of nutrition on brain development in children; the effect of nutrition on cognition, mood, and caregiving in mothers; and the cross-cultural and cross-linguistic adaptation and validation of tests of motor, cognitive, and socio-emotional function in children and adults.
Dr. Slupsky's research includes understanding the impact of diet on human health from the perspective of nutrition, the gut microbiome, and host-microbial co-metabolism. She uses a multi-discplinary research approach that integrates metabolomics with clinical measures, global gene expression profiles, as well as microbial community analysis to understand the intimate link between our gut microbiome, metabolism, and health. In addition, she is looking into the implication of food processing, agricultural practices, and plant health status on the nutrient content and sensory aspects of the food we eat. These studies will provide novel insight on health management and food development, and usher us into the era of personalized nutrition.
Dr. Steinberg’s research program focuses on the physiologic effects of bioactive food components to reduce risk factors for cardiovascular and obesity-related chronic diseases. Human trials and complementary research approaches are used to study metabolic markers of lipid and lipoprotein metabolism, endothelial function, inflammation and metabolic homeostasis; with a goal to examine nutritional phenotypes of individuals responding to intakes of food phytochemicals and characterize metabolic responses which promote health and chronic disease risk reduction.
Dr. Stewart’s research focuses on the design and evaluation of nutrition and health interventions for women and young children in low income communities. She examines the effects of these interventions on growth, health, and development throughout the life course. She utilizes primarily community-based randomized controlled trials, longitudinal studies, and meta-analyses to synthesize evidence to inform improvements in programs or policy. She collaborates extensively with multi-disciplinary and multi-national teams and has had recent projects in Kenya, Malawi, Madagascar, Bangladesh, and Ecuador.
Dr. Zivkovic’s research is focused on the role of diet and nutrition in Precision Health. Precision Health emphasizes individually tailored approaches to optimize health and prevent disease. The Zivkovic Lab has four overall research themes: 1) Investigating the functional biology of HDL; 2) Assessing the effects of diets and dietary constituents on inflammation; 3) Integrating clinical, metabolomic, proteomic, glycomic, transcriptomic, and genomic approaches to characterize metabolic phenotypes and their responsiveness to different diets; and 4) Investigating the effects of diets and dietary constituents on the gut microbiota and how they in turn affect host health.
Professional Researchers, Lecturers and Adjunct Faculty
As an applied microeconomist, Dr. Adams’ research interests are primarily in development economics with a specific focus on maternal and early childhood undernutrition. At the interface of economics and nutrition, her research aims to improve our understanding of human behavior as it relates to health and nutrition and to translate that understanding into informed guidance on policies that improve nutritional and other outcomes in developing countries.
Dr. Allen is the Director of the USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC). Dr. Allen's research is focused on the prevalence, causes, consequences and prevention of micronutrient deficiencies including iron, vitamin B-12, zinc, vitamin A and riboflavin.
Dr. Bennett's research explores genetic components of chronic metabolic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and obesity, through integrative genetic studies, also called "systems genetics."
Dr. Bonnel is the Human Studies Manager at the USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center (WHNRC). The mission of the WHNRC is to create and test food based interventions to improve the health of all Americans.
Ms. Frank's work focuses on curriculum design, outcomes assessment, and management practice in dietetics.
Dr. Fung's research interests include the assessment of growth, bone health, and mineral homeostasis in pediatric patients particularly those with hematological disorders.
Dr. Hackman's research addresses the role of foods and nutritional and botanical supplements for enhancement of human health and performance. His current studies explore the role of fruits, nuts, wine and unique botanical extracts on vascular function, inflammation and skin aging.
Dr. Hampel’s research is focused on method development for phenotyping breast milk and plasma samples and assessment of micronutrient deficiencies in mostly developing countries as well as evaluation of biomarkers to assess adequate micronutrient intake for mothers, breast milk status and infants 0 - 6 months.
Dr. Haskell's research is focused on assessing the bioavailability of vitamin A from plant-based diets, and evaluating the efficacy and safety of vitamin A interventions in low-income countries.
Dr. Heinig´s research area is maternal and child nutrition, particularly during lactation.
Dr. Hembrooke's research addresses diet and supplement effects on health, performance, and disease, with a primary focus on the equine population. Areas of interest have included inflammation, oxidative stress, joint support, gastric and gut health, reproductive success, as well as others.
Dr. Hess' research interests involve the design, implementation and evaluation of programs to control micronutrient deficiencies among children and women in low-income countries, and related issues of nutrient bioavailability, nutrient-nutrient interactions and nutritional assessment. The research program is generally carried out in the context of community-based intervention trials, using an efficacy or effectiveness study design.
Dr. Holt’s current research interests have focused on defining the metabolic and physiologic effects of the intake of specific foods on the cardiovascular health. This includes examining the relationship between circulating metabolites and vascular and platelet responses.
Dr. Hsu's research involves studying the molecular basis of protein tyrosine phosphatases (PTPs) in metabolic regulation. In particular, he uses state-of-the-art genetic (animal models of human disease), biochemical and pharmacological approaches to investigate the role of PTPs in diabetes and its complications.
Dr. Huang is a Research Geneticist with the Western Human Nutrition Research Center. Her research is focused on identifying the genetic influences on zinc homeostasis at molecular and cellular levels in humans.
Dr. Jiang’s research focuses on pediatric nutrition, specifically on absorption and biological roles of bioactive components in human milk, such as lactoferrin and osteopontin. She uses both cell models and animal models to investigate mechanisms by which milk derived bioactive compounds are absorbed and exert their multiple functions. In addition, she is interested in dynamic changes of milk bioactive components throughout lactation in human populations, as well as relationships between the changes and the health outcomes.
Dr. Jones’s research focuses on nutrition in the school environment, including implementation of multicomponent school-based interventions and assessment of nutrition education and training needs of teachers and school nutrition services staff. A secondary focus of her research is the development of valid and reliable survey tools, particularly those that measure nutrition knowledge.
Dr. Kable is interested in the mechanisms governing how diet impacts the bacterial composition of the human gut and how these diet-bacterial interactions can influence human health.
Dr. Keim's research program involves evaluation of the effects of diet patterns and physical activity on energy balance and metabolic flexibility in adults at risk for chronic disease. Recent work includes the development and application of novel tools to assess satiety in response to specific foods or meal challenges.
Dr. Krishnan's studies energy and macronutrient metabolism and its disruption (leading to chronic cardiometabolic diseases) in women, using clinical (diet or exercise) intervention studies, with the help of indirect calorimetry (whole room calorimeter), -omic (metabolomic, lipidomic, glycoproteomic), behavioral (food intake regulation) and mathematical modeling (clinical, multivariate biostatistics and machine learning) tools.
Dr. Laugero's lab studies stress and nutrition interrelationships. Research is being conducted to understand physiological and metabolic underpinnings of inter-individual variability in stress responsiveness, and how this can be used to explain vulnerability or resilience to the negative mental and physical effects of chronic stress. A systems approach is applied to examine the interrelationships between stress, diet, and physical activity in animal models, humans, and the community to identify mechanisms and factors that explain differential regulation of the stress response.
Dr. Lemay's lab studies how dietary components, especially fermentable carbohydrates, affect host response and whether that response is modulated by the functional capabilities of resident microbiota.
Dr. Newman's research group is developing and applying targeted and untargeted metabolomics tools to investigate metabolic responses to diet and their implications in the context of obesity and its associated co-morbidities. Active research areas include: 1) Investigating the functional implications of lipoprotein particle metabolomics structure on vascular and adipose physiology; 2) Investigating cross-talk between mediators of energy metabolism, inflammation, tissue growth and satiety; 3) Mapping the natural variance in metabolic responses to dietary challenges; 4) Investigating the impact of diet quality and weight maintenance/loss on metabolic indices of health.
Dr. Scherr’s research interests are mainly focused on nutrition education and promotion in school-aged children. Research efforts include the implementation of a multi-component, school-based intervention entitled the Shaping Healthy Choices Program. Additionally, Dr. Scherr is focused on the usage of sub-clinical and novel biomarkers in nutrition education to assess the effectiveness of these multi-component interventions.
Dr. Stephensen’s research interests focus on the relation between nutritional status and immune function, focusing on vitamin A, vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids. The effect of diet on the gut microbiome as a mediator of the impact of diet on immunity is also a current focus.
Dr. Waterman's research focuses on natural products and nutraceuticals for improved nutrition, health, and income generation in developing countries. She works with bioactive isothiocyanates and polyphenols from Moringa oleifera for treating chronic inflammation and factors of metabolic syndrome.
Dr. Watkins's research is focused on energy balance, obesity, and endocannabinoid signaling. The research aim is to understand the role of endocannabinoid (EC) signaling in systemic energy metabolism, and on glucose use and insulin sensitivity in muscle.
Dr. Wessells’ research interests are focused on zinc deficiency among infants and young children in low-income countries, and the evaluation of therapeutic and preventive interventions designed to improve nutritional status in these populations. She is also interested in the dietary and biochemical assessment of nutritional status, and relationships between nutritional status, intestinal mucosal function and infection.
Dr. Burton-Freeman's research follows two main themes: 1) Appetite and obesity management and, 2) Vascular disease. Research emphasizes the effects of bioactive food components on mechanistic and behavioral processes of food intake and body weight regulation.
Dr. Crozier's research investigates the absorption, disposition, metabolism and excretion of dietary flavonoids and phenolic compounds and their potential to protect against non-communicable diseases. He is one of 11 Thomson-Reuters 2014 Highly Cited Researchers on the UC Davis campus.
Dr. Finley is the Assistant Editor of The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Her research interests include the study of factors affecting breast milk composition.
Dr. Fraga’s research program centers on the putative beneficial effects of plant-derived polyphenolic compounds against degenerative disorders, including cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
Dr. Fujii’s research interests are focused on the development and testing of novel botanical extracts. His current work includes research on a mushroom mycelia extract, a lychee fruit extract, and an enzyme-treated asparagus extract.
Mr. Kosuna is an internationally-recognized business leader and innovator in the area of botanical extracts for human health. His current research interests focus on regulatory aspects of nutritional products in Asia and the United States, and the development of safe and effective natural products for use in food, beverage and dietary supplement industries.
In addition to teaching cultural nutrition courses to undergraduate students at UC Davis, Dr. Kurtz oversees the Local Program and Priority Populations Unit of the California Tobacco Control Program with the California Department of Public Health.
Dr. Ottaviani studies the putative beneficial effects of plant-derived polyphenolic compounds against degenerative disorders, with an emphasis on vascular disease.
Dr. Schroeter’s main research interests focus on the elucidation of the molecular and cellular mechanisms underlying the putative beneficial effects of flavanols against degenerative human diseases such as cardiovascular disorders and neurodegeneration.
Dr. Applegate developed and taught Nutrition 10 at UC Davis for 33 years teaching over 66,000 students more than any other UC davis instructor She created a fully online version of this popular course for use by all UC campuses. She established a variety of internships focusing on sports nutrition and nutrition education for undergraduate nutrition students. She has served as the Director of Sports Nutrition for Intercollegiate Athletics providing nutrition education for 20 sports teams. Her research interests include the effect of natural food products on exercise performance, nutrition label literacy among adults, and nutrition education through gardening in developmentally disabled adults.
Dr. Brown conducts research on the epidemiology, treatment, and prevention of childhood malnutrition in lower-income countries, including evaluation of large-scale intervention programs. Research themes include infant and young child feeding (breast feeding and complementary feeding), relationships between infection and nutrition, and control of specific micronutrient deficiencies, with particular focus on vitamin A, zinc, and iron.
Dr. Cherr´s current laboratory focus is on understanding the cellular and physiological mechanisms of reproduction and development over a wide phylogenetic range
Dr. Clifford's research concerns the dynamic and kinetic behavior of nutrient metabolism as it occurs in vivo in humans. Nutrients of special interest include folate, vitamin E, β-carotene, lutein, and food (fruits/vegetables) components (flavonoids, isothiocyanates, catechins, sulfaraphanes, resveratrol). Foods rich in the above components protect against and hold promise for improved management of developmental, chronic, and degenerative diseases.
Dr. Davis' research focuses on the interaction of dietary constituents (macronutrients and nonnutritional components) with processes/risk factors for chronic human diseases (i.e. coronary vascular disease and cancer).
Dr. Dewey's research area is community and international nutrition, with an emphasis on maternal and child nutrition. Dr. Dewey was the Director of the Program in International & Community Nutrition (now named Institute for Global Nutrition) from 2007 – 2018.
Dr. M.R.C. Greenwood's research interests are in national science policy, obesity, diabetes, and women's health. Her past research work has been on the role of genetics in the development of obesity and diabetes. She is currently interested in national and international policy in these areas and the role of government in the regulation of food and diet.
Dr. Grivetti blends classical approaches of social and biological sciences with historical perspectives. The unifying theme of his research is how, why, and under what conditions human diets change, the mechanisms of change, and the nutritional implications of human behavior.
The main focus of Dr. Halsted's research is the regulation of alcoholic liver injury by hepatic methionine metabolism. Previous work established the mechanisms for folate absorption from the intestine, including characterization of a novel enzyme glutamate carboxypeptidase, as well the effects of alcoholism on folate metabolism in humans and animal models.
Dr. Hudson (Hon) was the Assistant Program Director of the UC Davis Didactic Program in Dietetics from 2006-2012. Her work focuses on curriculum design, outcomes assessment, and management practice in dietetics.
Dr. Lucia Kaiser’s research interests have included developing and evaluating nutrition education programs to promote food security and prevent obesity and nutrition-related chronic diseases. As a Cooperative Extension specialist, she conducted workshops, seminars, in-service training events, and media outreach to the general public, as well as to health providers. Dr. Kaiser maintains the UC Cooperative Extension Community Nutrition website, which provides nutrition education resources and evaluation tools to help those working in the community to promote healthy lifestyles and improve the food environment.
Using stable isotopes and kinetic modeling techniques, Dr. King´s research group studies how calcium and zinc utilization is affected by different physiological states, such as pregnancy, lactation, aging, or insufficient or excessive intakes.
Dr. Lönnerdal's research program is focused on two main areas: infant/pediatric nutrition and trace element metabolism.
The primary focus of Dr. McDonald's research program is on mechanisms of cellular aging and the interaction between nutrition and aging.
Dr. Rucker's current research focus is on the role of nutrients in early growth and development, the physiological roles of quinone cofactors derived from tyrosine, such as pyrroloquinoline quinone, and allometric scaling relevant to nutrition.
Dr. Schneeman is recognized for her work on dietary fiber, gastro-intestinal function, development and use of food-based dietary guidelines, and the connection between science and policy development.
Dr. Townsend's work centers on nutrition education (research and programs) with an emphasis on children and adolescents. She is involved in theory-driven program development and implementation, nutrition educational methodologies and program evaluation. Her work also involves health behavior change strategies.
Dr. Zidenberg-Cherr´s research program studies the impact of multi-faceted approaches to nutrition education on the dietary and lifestyle choices of school-aged children. Her research utilizes a food systems approach in the development and testing of nutrition education curricula and comprehensive nutrition education programs for school age children. She was also the founding Director of the Center for Nutrition in Schools in the Department of Nutrition at University of California, Davis.
Dr. Hess was the Chair of the UC Davis Nutrition Department from 2007 to 2009. He also served as Dean of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences from 1975 to 1989. In 1989 he was appointed by the President to be the Assistant Secretary of Science and Education in the USDA. He also had two presidential appointments to the National Science Board, the governing board of the National Science Foundation. Upon his return to campus in 1991, he served as the Director of International Programs and has served as a special assistant to the Provost and Chancellor.
Professor Hill was a pioneer in the field of nutrition, one of the first to study the interaction of carbohydrates, fats and amino acids as energy sources in the body. He studied comparative nutrition, researching how different animal species utilize the major dietary components as energy sources. Hill's initial research focused on the nutritional requirements of poultry, including pioneering work on food composition as it relates to poultry production and growth. Dr. Hill served as the founding chair of the department of nutrition at UC Davis from 1967-1972. He also served as editor of the Journal of Nutrition, the official journal of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences.
Lucille S. Hurley was internationally acclaimed for her studies on the role of maternal nutrition in perinatal development. She was one of the first to recognize that the phenotypic expression of some deleterious genotopyes could be prevented by appropriate dietary manipulations. With her death in 1988, the scientific community lost an eminent scholar and member; present and future students lost an exceptional educator; and the public lost one of its more articulate advocates for the need to improve the diets of pregnant women in order to optimize the outcome of their pregnancies.
Dr. Stern joined the UC Davis faculty in 1974. Her work on the metabolic and behavioral aspects of obesity flourished and she and many graduate students and postdoctoral fellows were well published. Over her distinguished career, she was awarded numerous national and international awards, including election as a fellow of the American Society for Nutritional Sciences and of the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences.
In 1970, Dr. Swenerton joined the UC Davis Faculty as a Research Nutritionist, in association with renowned Professor Dr. Lucille Hurley. Together, they published what is now considered a classic series of research papers on the effects of zinc deficiency in the diet on mammalian fetal development. In 1972, Dr. Swenerton was appointed a UC Cooperative Extension Specialist in Nutrition, where she served the public with distinction for over 17 years.
Dr. Weir joined the faculty of the Animal Husbandry Department at U.C.D. in 1948. Professor Weir had an exemplary record of service to the University: Dean of Students (1956, 1958-1965), including a period as Dean of Women; Chief-of-Party for the U.C.-University of Chile Cooperative Program (1970-1972); Chairman of the Department of Nutrition (1973-1981); Associate Director of the Small Ruminent C.R.S.P. (1981-1987); Associate Dean for International Programs for U.C.D. (1985-1990).
Born in Mt. Vernon, Ill., on July 7, 1917, Whitlock was the oldest of four children. He put himself through Southern Illinois Normal College delivering bread, milking cows and picking peaches. He was a Navy weatherman in World War II and was shipwrecked off the coast of Alaska. He taught nutrition through the UC Davis extension office.
Before she earned her doctorate in nutrition and dietetics from Ohio State University, Dr. Zeman worked as a dietitian for Cleveland City Hospital in Cleveland. She subsequently taught in the nutrition department at Kent State University. She came to UC Davis, in 1964. At UCD, Dr. Zeman, a Registered Dietitian, was a professor of dietetics and nutrition and was involved in years of research in her field of developmental nutrition and teratology. During her years at the university, she was invited to be a visiting scientist at the Dunn Nutrition Laboratory in Cambridge, England. She authored or co-authored more than 70 research papers and three textbooks, including "Clinical Nutrition and Dietetics” the premier text in the field during the 1980-90’s.