Lauren Au, Ph.D., R.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
  • Assistant Nutritionist in Agricultural Experiment Station
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.
3215 Meyer Hall

Bess Caswell , Ph.D

  • Assistant Adjunct Professor, USDA ARS WHNRC
Dr. Caswell's research interests are in dietary assessment and analysis methods and food-based nutrition interventions. Her work incorporates nutritional epidemiology, community-based nutrition research and controlled dietary studies conducted at the Western Human Nutrition Research Center.

Bethany P Cummings, D.V.M., Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Surgery, School of Medicine
Dr. Cummings' research uses state-of-the-art tools and technologies to understand the molecular basis of metabolic disease, with a focus on bile acid and glucagon-like peptide-1 signaling. The aim is to identify and develop new therapeutics for these diseases, whose prevalence is growing at an alarming rate. To achieve these goals, her lab is studying surgical, nutritional and pharmaceutical approaches using a combination of mouse modeling, molecular biology, biochemical and genomics applications. 
Research II 3004

Reina Engle-Stone, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Engle-Stone's research focuses on global public health nutrition, with an emphasis on micronutrient nutrition and planning and evaluation of programs to improve nutritional status in disadvantaged populations. Specific research areas include design and evaluation of micronutrient intervention programs, particularly large-scale food fortification; complementarity and cost-effectiveness of nutrition programs; and overlaps between micronutrient deficiencies and non-communicable disease risk.
3253A Meyer Hall

Andrea Fascetti, V.M.D., Ph.D.

  • Professor, Vet Med: Molecular Biosciences
Research Interests: Nutrition and metabolism in the cat and dog. Trace mineral metabolism in the cat. Improvement of pet foods. Veterinary clinical nutrition.
1067 Haring Hall

Debbie Fetter, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Teaching Nutrition, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Fetter's pedagogical research program focuses on assessing differences between online and face-to-face education and determining predictors of success in higher education. She is also involved with nutrition education research.
3211 Meyer Hall

Melanie Gareau, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Vet Med: Anatomy, Physiology & Cell Biology
Characterizing the microbiota-gut-brain axis in models of inflammatory bowel disease and following infection with an enteric bacterial pathogen. Determining the mechanisms involved in the development of the microbiota-gut-brain axis in early life.

Bruce German, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology
Research Interests: Chemistry and nutrition of dietary fats. Functions and actions of lactation and milk in food and nutrition. Metabolomics as assessment of diet and metabolic regulation.
2162 Robert Mondavi Institute North

Robert Hackman, Ph.D.

  • Research Nutritionist, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Hackman's research addresses the role of 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.
3150F Meyer Hall

Peter Havel, Ph.D

  • Professor, Department of Nutrition
  • Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine
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.
3426 Meyer Hall

Marie Heffern, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry
Dr. Heffern investigates the roles that metal micronutrients play in endocrine function and disease. Specifically, her lab seeks to determine how essential trace metals like copper, iron, and zinc, are involved in obesity-related disorders and metabolic dysfunction.
210 Chemistry

Sonja Y. Hess, Ph.D.

  • Research Nutritionist, Department of Nutrition
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.
3147 Meyer Hall

Roberta Holt, Ph.D.

  • Associate Research Nutritionist, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Holt’s research includes understanding the impact of dietary components and whole foods on cardiovascular physiology. Specifically, how these foods/dietary components affect metabolic pathways, and in turn, alter physiological outcomes such as vascular function and platelet reactivity.

Russ Hovey, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Animal Science
Dr. Hovey’s research focuses on the following areas: hormonal regulation of mammary gland growth, lactation, and breast cancer with interests in ovarian and pituitary hormone functions; role of the stromal environment in cell function; and across- species differences in mammary gland biology and hormone function.
2145 Meyer Hall

Liping Huang, Ph.D.

  • Research Geneticist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition
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 human and animal models. Particularly, she is interested in roles of zinc transporters in regulation of energy metabolism, body adiposity, insulin metabolism in pancreatic beta-cells and insulin resistance in muscle, fat, and liver.
430 USDA/WHNRC Building

Peng Ji, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
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
3145 Meyer Hall

Mary Kable, Ph.D.

  • Research Molecular Biologist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
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. In particular, she is interested in how dietary fiber can affect the composition of the gut microbiota in such a way as to increase or decrease colonization resistance and susceptibility to food borne pathogens.

Nancy Keim, Ph.D.

  • Research Chemist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition
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.
121 Humanities and Social Science Building

Michele La Merrill

  • Associate Professor
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Environmental Toxicology
Dr. Michele La Merrill studies the developmental basis of environmental disease. Her group is particularly interested in understanding susceptibilities to disease that may result from environmental insults during development, from poor diet and ensuing metabolic diseases, and from genetic and epigenetic predispositions.
4245 Meyer Hall

Jennifer Larsen, DVM, Ph.D.

  • Professor of Clinical Nutrition, Department of Veterinary Medicine: Molecular Biosciences
Dr. Larsen's research interests are mainly focused in clinical nutrition of dogs and cats, nutrient bioavailability, and amino acid nutrition.

Kevin Laugero, Ph.D.

  • Research Nutritionist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Laugero's research is aimed at understanding the role and underpinnings of chronic psychosocial stress in dysfunctional eating behaviors, particularly as they relate to obesity and the metabolic syndrome.
430 West Health Sciences Drive

Danielle Lemay, Ph.D.

  • Research Molecular Biologist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
  • Faculty Member, UC Davis Genome Center
Dr. Lemay is interested in how dietary components, especially fermentable carbohydrates, affect host response and whether that response is modulated by the functional capabilities of resident microbiota. The lab also applies big data techniques, such as sequencing technologies and machine learning, to understand the effects of diet on human health.

Yanhong Liu, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Animal Science
The increasing public concerns about antimicrobial resistance of food-borne bacteria impose urgent needs to seek alternatives to antibiotics in agricultural animal industry. Many of feed ingredients and additives now are available as potential ‘alternatives to antibiotics’, either by altering microbial populations in the gastrointestinal tract or by influencing the immune system. However, the still-unclear mechanism hampers their application in the industry. Our research interest is to evaluate dietary effects on pig health by investigating impacts of products now available to the industry and developing new approach for the industry. Our long-term goal is to help the animal industry deploy feed-based health technologies to improve animal health.

Gerardo Mackenzie, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Mackenzie´s research focuses on the role of diet and other lifestyle factors in cancer development, prevention and treatment. Current research projects include: 1) Understanding the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in the link between obesity, inflammation and cancer; 2) Evaluating the impact of dietary interventions, such as the ketogenic diet, alongside standard-of-care chemotherapy as a novel treatment for pancreatic cancer; and 3) Investigating the use of select nutraceuticals as potential chemopreventive agents.
3207 Meyer

Maria Marco, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology
Dr. Marco’s research is focused on understanding how certain microorganisms benefit human health. This interest encompasses fermented foods, probiotics, other ‘biotic categories, and the human microbiome. Studies on these topics range from clinical trials to molecular mechanistic inquiries on the genetic, biochemical, and ecological basis for microbe-microbe and host-microbe interactions in foods and the digestive tract. Her lab is particularly focused on lactic acid bacteria but also uses a range of microbiome-directed methods to study microbial communities.
3200 Robert Mondavi Institute - South

Christine McDonald, Sc.D.

  • Assistant Professor, UCSF School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics
  • Assistant Visiting Researcher, Department of Nutrition
Dr. McDonald’s research is primarily based in global health nutrition with an emphasis on the design and evaluation of interventions to prevent and treat maternal and child undernutrition in resource-limited settings. Specific topics of interest include: zinc nutrition, child growth and development, and environmental enteric dysfunction.

Valentina Medici, M.D.

  • Professor, Internal Medicine/Division of Gastroenterology
Dr. Medici’s research interests include the effects of copper accumulation in the liver, as occurs in Wilson disease, on hepatic methionine metabolism, the regulation of gene expression by methylation, and consequent interactions with pathways of liver injury in particular lipogenesis and steatosis. She uses similar methods to study the effects of alcohol drinking on methionine metabolism and the development of alcoholic liver disease. Her studies use genetically altered mouse models of Wilson disease and alcoholic liver disease.
PSSB Ste 3500
4150 V St, Sacramento CA 95817

Dragan Milenkovic, Ph.D.

  • Associate Researcher, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Milenkovic’s research aims to demonstrate impact of nutrients on development and prevention of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases and to identify molecular and cellular mechanisms of actions underlying observed effects using multi-genomic and bioinformatic approaches. In the last 10 years his research has been particularly focused on protective effects of bioactive plant compounds, mainly polyphenols.

John Newman, Ph.D.

  • Research Chemist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition
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.

Cassandra J. Nguyen, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Cooperative Extension
Dr. Nguyen's long-term goal is to bridge the gap between "what we know" and "what we do" about food insecurity in the U.S. Her research broadly aligns with one of three areas: 1) supporting the implementation, evaluation, and effectiveness of Extension and nutrition education programming; 2) revitalizing local food systems to increase diet quality and wellbeing among Native communities and families; and 3) integrating food insecurity screening into healthcare services to better address chronic diseases.
3149 Meyer Hall

Patricia Oteiza, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Nutrition
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.
3109 Meyer Hall

Baback (Bob) Roshanravan, M.D., M.S.P.H., M.S.

Dr. Roshanravan is is focused on patient-oriented research studying the links between altered metabolism in chronic kidney disease with muscle function, physical functioning, and frailty. His current research employs metabolic imaging and live tissue analysis of mitochondrial biochemistry to assess the impact of lifestyle and pharmacologic therapies on improving muscle performance, metabolism and physical function in vulnerable persons with chronic kidney disease. He is currently funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) to investigate the impact of home-based exercise and treatment of metabolic acidosis on muscle metabolism and physical endurance among persons with CKD. As an investigator in the Neuromuscular Research Laboratory he leads an interdisciplinary team of investigators across UC Davis, California State University Sacramento, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center.
Lawrence J. Ellison Ambulatory Care Center, 4860 Y St., Sacramento, Nephrology, Suite 0200

Heidi Rossow, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor Ruminant Nutrition Management, Vet Med: Population Health & Reproduction
My primary research interests are developing ration formulation methods to minimize nutrient emissions (nitrogen, minerals, methane, etc.) to the environment, using body composition and organ size to estimate energy requirements and managing feeding systems at dairies and feedlots to optimize nutrient supply to the animal and minimize feed waste. Therefore my research focuses on using mathematical modeling techniques coupled with animal and feed measurements to represent animal nutrient metabolism in healthy and diseased states to understand nutrient use and excretion under different production systems.
18830 Road 112, Tulare CA 93274

Karen Ryan, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
Dr. Ryan's research interests study the neuroendocrine mechanisms by which environmental signals influence systemic metabolism, with the goal to identify new targets for therapeutic intervention in stress-related and metabolic disease. Research interests include neuroendocrine regulation of feeding behavior, body weight and glucose control; mechanisms linking psychological stress and metabolic disease.
1129 Life Sciences

Carolyn Slupsky, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Nutrition/Department of Food Science & Technology
  • Kinsella Endowed Chair, Food, Nutrition, and Health
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.
3247 Meyer Hall

Jennifer T. Smilowitz, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor of Cooperative Extension
  • Department of Nutrition
Dr. Smilowitz is an Assistant Professor of Cooperative Extension in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis. She holds a doctoral degree in Nutritional Biology with an emphasis in Endocrinology and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Food Science & Technology at UC Davis. She has a well-established research career in clinical nutrition and lactation research that targets health in the first 1000 days from pregnancy through early childhood. Diet, environment, and lifestyle during these life stages have long-term consequences on health across generations. As a lactation education counselor, Dr. Smilowitz built a multi-collaborative outreach program focused on infant feeding that educates families on lactation and breastfeeding. Dr. Smilowitz's current research and outreach programs focus on critical issues that identify and address gaps in health equity across the lifespan, support community health and reduce chronic disease risk. She leads the ORIANE Lab, which leverages multi-disciplinary and multi-prong approaches to improve community health by 1) implementing and testing evidence-based nutrition interventions; 2) creating educational programs on nutrition and health using multimedia to empower families, especially from racially diverse, low-income communities; and 3) delivering professional training on nutrition-related topics to health care providers, community professionals, educators, and advocates.
3150D Meyer Hall | Lab: 3150H Meyer Hall

Ryan G Snodgrass, Ph.D

  • Research Molecular Biologist, USDA ARS WHNRC
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor
Dr. Snodgrass's research is focused on understanding how diet and nutritional and metabolic status shape innate immune function. Active research areas include: 1) investigating how metabolic status influences innate immune cell frequencies and phenotypes; 2) investigating the impact of diet and stress on cardiovascular risk factors and innate immune cell phenotypes; 3) investigating how microbiota-derived metabolites, which can be influenced by our diet, contribute to innate immune cell function.

Francene Steinberg, Ph.D., R.D.

  • Professor, Chair, Department of Nutrition
  • Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics
Dr. Steinberg's research interests focus on the physiologic roles of food phytochemicals, particularly soy protein and associated isoflavones, with regard to cardiovascular disease and overall health promotion. She is also interested in clinical nutrition interventions to reduce chronic disease risk, and the metabolism of lipids and lipoproteins.
3135B Meyer Hall

Christine Stewart, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition
  • Corinne L. Rustici Endowed Chair in Applied Human Nutrition
  • Director, Institute for Global Nutrition
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.
3253B Meyer Hall

Ameer Taha, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology
Research Interests: Role of oxidized fatty acids on brain signaling and function. Current projects include the assessment of human oxidized fatty acid intakes and breast milk levels, as well as applied lipidomic and electrophysiology approaches to study brain metabolism and signaling.
3162 RMI North

Payam Vahmani, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Animal Science
Enhancing the nutritional and health value of animal-sourced foods for human consumption; Developing nutritional and management strategies to enhance the level of bioactive nutrients in animal-sourced foods; Examining health effects of functional/nutritionally enhanced animal-sourced foods using cell culture, animal models and clinical trials; Studying how animal-sourced foods foster human health (i.e. prevent chronic diseases and nutrient deficiencies), and their role in food security.
2201 Meyer Hall

Guodong Zhang

  • Assistant Professor
  • Assistant Nutritionist in AES
Dr. Zhang's research seeks to elucidate the molecular mechanisms for the health effects of dietary and/or environmental compounds, in order to better understand their metabolic individualities, address inter-individual susceptibilities, and clarify their health effects.
3209 Meyer Hall | Labs: 3407 Meyer Hall

Angela Zivkovic, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Nutrition Department
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.
3245Meyer Hall