Dr. Cherr´s current laboratory focus is on understanding the cellular and physiological mechanisms of reproduction and development over a wide phylogenetic range
Academic Senate Faculty & Cooperative Extension
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. 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.
Perinatal period is a critical window of brain development that is featured with robust neuronal growth as well as greater vulnerability to environmental insults. I am interested in evaluating the opportunities and the risks of nutritional factors in modulating neuronal resilience to early-life adverse events (e.g. infection and stress). Domestic piglet is used as translational model of human infants in our studies. We utilize molecular techniques, behavioral tests, disease-challenge models to integrate pathophysiology, neuroimmunology and cognition. In this way, we are able to evaluate how diet induced peripheral “signals” (e.g. metabolites and humoral profiles) exert their function in central nervous system during health and disease.
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 is related to maternal and child nutrition in low income communities, primarily in developing country settings. Her focus is on both the immediate and long-term effects of poor nutrition during pregnancy and early childhood on birth outcomes, infant and child survival, child growth, and risk of chronic disease in later life.
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
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. Arsenault's research interests include the evaluation of: 1) dietary intakes, 2) relations between diet/nutritional status and health/functional outcomes, and 3) impacts of nutrition programs – focusing on micronutrients and low-income populations.
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.
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.
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 and unique botanical extracts on vascular function and inflammation.
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. 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. 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.
The goal of Dr. Hwang’s research is to elucidate molecular mechanisms by which different types of dietary fatty acids modulate receptor-mediated signaling pathways, target gene expression, and subsequent cellular responses, and to determine how this modulation by fatty acids is related to risks of developing chronic diseases.
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 validation and application of body composition methodologies, evaluation of the effects of dieting and physical activity on energy expenditure in overweight and obese individuals, and, more recently, development and application of tools to assess appetite, food preferences, and dietary patterns in humans.
Dr. Kelley is interested in studying the effects of diets on inflammation and immune responses. The focus of his studies has been the modulation of risk factors for cardio-vascular disease and insulin resistance by dietary fatty acids and phytonutrients. He is also interested in the effects of fatty acids on cell growth, differentiation and apoptosis.
Dr. Krishnan's current research focuses on combating (prevention and management) cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity in women by exploring dietary, exercise and lifestyle habits, especially focused on personalizing changes to optimize health solutions. In addition, she is also interested in phenotypic differences in the manifestation of disease pathogenesis, especially in identifying them using -omic (metabolomic, proteomic, genomic, glycomic and microbiome) tools.
Dr. Lanoue’s research is directed towards achieving a better understanding of the role of specific nutrient deficits or excesses on embryonic and fetal development.
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. Mridha’s research interests include the role of polyunsaturated fatty acids in pregnancy and lactation; weaning and complementary feeding practices and their association with growth and illness of children; the linkage between infection and nutrition; evaluation of existing nutrition intervention programs for women and children; nutrition and non-communicable diseases; and mainstreaming nutrition into health system.
Dr. Newman’s laboratory uses analytical technologies to investigate the interactions of diet and metabolism on nutritional phenotypes in the context of obesity and associated co-morbidities, developing novel analytical tools as needed to address these questions.
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. Schuster is investigating the effects of several nutrients, among them vitamin A and/ or D, omega-3/omega-6 fatty acids on bone metabolism, endocrine and immune function. Her research focusses on metabolic profiling of fatty acids and inflammatory bio-markers in combination with genetic predispositions/ polymorphisms. This will be examined in human intervention trials, in corresponding mouse models of inflammation, and in in-vitro assays.
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. Van Loan’s research focus has been on the effects of nutrition, exercise, and eating behaviors on body composition and bone health. She has conducted a wide variety of clinical studies aimed at validation of body composition techniques and their use on clinical trials and field settings.
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. Zunino’s lab is interested in how phytochemicals regulate immune response. Obesity increases the risk of developing viral and bacterial infections compared to normal weight individuals. The focus of the laboratory is to understand how dietary phytochemicals may modulate the innate immune response to decrease the risk of infection in the obese.
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 is currently creating a fully online Nutrition 10 course for use by all UC campuses, modeled after the NUT10 class she taught year round for 31 years. She is also directing a variety of internships focusing on sports nutrition and nutrition education for undergraduate nutrition students. She also serves 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 and nutrition label literacy among 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. 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, reservatrol). 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
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 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. Hess was the Chair of the UC Davis Nutrition Department from 2007 to 2009. He also serverd 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.
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 research focus is on the role of nutrients in early growth and development and the physiological roles of quinone cofactors derived from tyrosine, such as pyrroloquinoline quinone.
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. Stern's research interests include: studies to identify genes associated with obesity and renal disease; public policy in obesity (e.g. costs of not treating obesity, social costs to the individual - discrimination; research funding; menu board labeling of calories); childhood obesity; dietary supplements. Dr. Stern writes a blog called "Nutrition Speaks"
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.