Alumni Spotlight - David Dallas
Dr. David Dallas received his Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology with a Designated Emphasis in Biotechnology and Area of Specialization in Analytical Chemistry from UC Davis in 2012.
"The GGNB program allowed me to expand from a Public Health nutrition perspective to a molecular, biochemistry perspective of Nutrition, says Dallas, "The program has so much breadth and depth and allows enormous freedom to explore your own research ideas. It has been a truly rewarding, incredible experience, and I owe so much to all of the wonderful professors in the GGNB for helping me along the way."
After graduation Dr. Dallas worked as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the UC Davis Department of Food Science and Technology. There he worked for Drs. Carlito B. Lebrilla, Daniela Barile, David Mills, and J. Bruce German with funding provided by the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture and the NIH K99 Career Award. His research focused on identifying the digestive products of breast milk in term and premature infants in order to determine improved feeding solutions for premature infants. Through examining bioactivity of identified naturally-occurring peptides in milk and using cutting-edge liquid chromatography mass spectrometry and database searching, he identified thousands of novel endogenous milk peptides, many of which have antimicrobial or immunomodulatory actions.
"The many mentors I've had along the way have been tremendous," says Dallas, "Bruce German mentored me in thinking and working independently and building a network of collaborations. Dr. Daniela Barile in Food Science taught me how to mentor and direct graduate and undergraduate students and how to work with companies. Dr. Carlito Lebrilla in Chemistry guided me in developing state-of-the-art analytical chemistry techniques. Dr. Mark Underwood mentored me in clinical study design at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Dr. David Mills enabled my work to expand to examining how milk peptides affect infant gut microbes. Beyond this, so many other professors and researchers have helped me along the way with essential research and professional advice and mentoring, including Dr. Carolyn Slupsky, Dr. Charles Bevins, Dr. Emanual Maverakis, Dr. Jennifer Smilowitz, Dr. Angela Zivkovic, Dr. Danielle Lemay and Dr. Brett Phinney. I'm so very appreciative of all these wonderful colleagues."
Beginning in January 2016, Dr. David Dallas will be an Assistant Professor in the School of Biological and Population Health Sciences within the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis, Oregon. The overall aim of Dr. Dallas’s research at OSU will be to improve the health of premature infants, a population that suffers greatly reduced health outcomes (including early mortality, developmental disorders, and high risk of infection) in comparison with term-delivered, breast milk-fed infants. The reduced digestive capacity of premature infants results in an inability break down milk proteins in the same way as term infants. This diminished digestive function may result in the premature infant's inability to take advantage of bioactive peptides and glycopeptides encrypted in human milk proteins. In essence, premature infants are not receiving the full and multi-faceted health benefits of milk.
David Dallas, Ph.D.
School of of Biological and Population Health Sciences, College of Public Health and Human Sciences
Oregon State University, Corvallis