GGNB Faculty Spotlight - Ameer Taha

Ameer Taha

"The GGNB program has a diverse body of researchers who work on clinically relevant and translational topics in an interdisciplinary manner. This reflects the approach my lab is taking, so I look forward to expanding on this aspect by working with relevant GGNB researchers." 

Dr. Ameer Taha is an assistant professor in the Department of Food Science and Technology.  He specializes in food chemistry and biochemistry. Taha completed his Ph.D. in pharmacology and toxicology at the University of Toronto, Canada. He joined the UC Davis faculty in 2014 after completing a postdoctoral fellowship at National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Taha completed an undergraduate degree in Human Biology (Specialist), Middle Eastern History (Major) and Environmental Physics (Minor) at the University of Toronto (Canada) in 2003. He completed a Master's degree in Nutritional Sciences in 2006 and a PhD in Pharmacology and Toxicology in 2009 at the University of Toronto.

Dr. Taha's PhD work explored the anti-seizure role and mechanism of action of omega-3 fatty acids in rodent models of drug-resistant seizures under the supervision of Dr. W. McIntyre Burnham. He then worked as a post-doctoral fellow at the Brain Physiology and Metabolism Section of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland, USA) with Dr. Stanley I. Rapoport. His post-doctorate work investigated the regulation of brain polyunsaturated fatty acid metabolism in relation to neuroinflammation, drug action, diet and genetic disturbances relevant to bipolar disorder and Parkinson-like disorders.

As a faculty member at UC Davis Dr. Taha will study the mechanisms of oxidized fatty acid formation in food (particularly vegetable oils), and investigate their role on brain neurophysiology and function. He will use lipidomic approaches to probe and quantify oxidized fatty acid products formed under various food processing conditions, and investigate their absorption kinetics and impact on brain neurophysiology using electrophysiology and molecular assays. In vivo kinetic approaches using heavy-isotope or radiolabeled tracers will also be used to quantify endogenous rates of oxidized lipid formation from dietary fatty acids. Understanding the mechanisms of oxidized lipid formation and their impact on brain function will aide in devising methods to minimize their formation during food processing and in establishing dietary safety limits.

"Most of my work in the Food Science and Technology department overlaps with nutrition," says Taha.   "Broadly speaking, food science is the study of how food is produced; nutrition is the study of how food is handled once ingested. The two fields complement each other, so it was a natural path for me to join the GGNB group. My current research on the impact of food processing on brain lipid metabolism and function exemplifies why this bridge between Food Science and GGNB is necessary."

"The students are excellent, knowledgeable, proactive and dedicated. I know that they are also involved in various aspects of community engagement, which in my view is admirable.  I hope to actively contribute to this unique student body through research, teaching and mentorship."

Current projects

  • Habitual intake of oxidized fatty acid metabolites in humans
  • In vivo metabolism of oxidized linoleic acid metabolites

Contact

Ameer Taha, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
UC Davis Department of Food Science & Technology
(530) 752-7096
ataha@ucdavis.edu