Faculty

Faculty

Lindsay Allen, Ph.D., R.D.

  • Research Professor, Department of Nutrition; Director, USDA ARS Western Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB 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.
122 WHNRC

Gretchen Casazza, Ph.D.

  • Research Director, UCD Sports Medicine, Department of Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Description: Applied research to improve the health and exercise performance of active individuals. Current research projects include optimizing exercise training and performance in competitive athletes, the effects of exercise on the treatment of depression, effects of estrogen on knee osteoarthritis, the effects of oral contraceptives on bone health and exercise performance, ACL injury prevention programs, sports nutrition and metabolism.

Reina Engle-Stone, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
  • GGNB Faculty
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
3253A Meyer Hall

Nilesh Gaikwad, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition; Associate Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Gaikwad’s research interests include: 1. Development of mass spectrometric analytical methods for comprehensive measurement of the small molecules in the cells/tissues/body fluids. 2. Development of biomarkers by applying target/profile oriented metabolomic methods. 3. Modulation of metabolic profile by using antioxidants, polyphenols, flavones and phytochemicals.
3209 Meyer Hall

Eric Gershwin, M.D.

  • Professor, MED: Division of Rheumatology/Allergy
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Interests: Role of nutrition in the development of immune functions and in the susceptibility of cancer development, using a variety of experimental systems involving mice and rhesus monkeys as the beginning of similar studies to be performed in humans.
TB 192

Ralph Green, M.D.

  • Professor, Departments of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine and Internal Medicine
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Interests: The role of the B group vitamins folate, cobalamin (vitamin B12), and pyridoxine (vitamin B6) in normal cellular function and metabolism and how deficiency of these vitamins can result in degenerative diseases including cardiovascular, neurological, hematological, neoplastic, and immunological disorders, as well as aging. Development of new and improved biochemical tests to identify deficiency and dysfunction of these vitamins and their cofactors.
UC Davis Medical Center
2315 Stockton Blvd., Sacramento CA 95817

Fawaz Haj, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Nutrition; Professor, Department of Internal Medicine; Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Haj's research program investigates the role of protein-tyrosine phosphatases in metabolism and type 2 diabetes through the use of advanced cellular imaging and genetic mouse models.
3115 Meyer Hall

Peter Havel, Ph.D

  • Professor, Department of Nutrition; Professor, Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Russ Hovey, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Animal Science
  • GGNB Faculty
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.

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition; Scientist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Daniel Hwang, Ph.D.

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition; Scientist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB Faculty
The goal of our 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.
211 WHNRC

Sidika Karakas, M.D.

  • Professor, MED: Department of Internal Medicine Division of Endocrinology
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Interests: Clinical studies in humans investigating the effects of diet on body weight and composition, insulin resistance, ovarian function, and various metabolic and satiety parameters using biochemical and molecular strategies.
1157 Surge I

Carl Keen, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Nutrition & Internal Medicine; The Mars Chair, Developmental Nutrition; Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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.
3135A Meyer Hall

Nancy Keim, Ph.D.

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

Darshan Kelley, Ph.D.

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition; Scientist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Kelley is interested in studying the effects of diets on inflammation and immune responses. 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.
207 WHNRC

Janet King, Ph.D., R.D.

  • Associate in the AES, Department of Nutrition; Professor Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. King's research focuses primarily on identifying biomarkers of human zinc deficiencies and deriving effective zinc interventions to reduce zinc deficiency world-wide. She focuses her research primarily on the needs of women of reproductive age, pregnant and lactating women, infants and young children.

Kevin Laugero, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition; Scientist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Gerardo Mackenzie, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition; Assistant Nutritionist in Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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.
3207 Meyer

Stanley Marks, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Vet Med: Medicine & Epidemiology
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Interests: Influences of dietary composition on the intestinal microflora and intestinal integrity. Includes studies on the effects of poorly fermentable and fermentable fiber sources on intestinal permeability, bacterial translocation, intestinal morphometry, and intestinal cytokine production.
0246 Vet Med II

Valentina Medici, M.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine/Division of Gastroenterology
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Patricia Oteiza, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Department of Nutrition; Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Helen Raybould, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Vet Med: Anatomy, Physiology and Cell Biology
  • GGNB Faculty
I am an integrative physiologist with training in neurophysiology and gastrointestinal physiology. My research focuses on understanding the mechanisms by which the vagal afferent pathway (the gut-brain axis) transmits information about gut luminal contents to the brain to regulate alter gut physiology and feeding behavior. My research program is aimed at understanding how these pathways are altered in metabolic disease including obesity and type 2 diabetes, and how the gut-brain pathway contributes to altered food intake and metabolism. Recently, the research in the laboratory has elucidated the alterations in gut microbiota and intestinal permeability in rodent models of obesity and how this may drive changes in signaling in the gut-brain pathway. We have an active and funded collaboration with the Milk Bioactives Program (Food for Health Initiative, UC Davis) to help elucidate the interactions between probiotic bacteria with prebiotic substances in milk, and how this interaction produces bacterially-derived factors that are beneficial to the host and that mediate the beneficial effects of probiotic bacteria.
Vet Med 3B, Health Sciences Complex

Heidi Rossow, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor Ruminant Nutrition Management, Vet Med: Population Health & Reproduction
  • GGNB Faculty
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.
VMTRC - SVM
18830 Road 112, Tulare CA 93274

John Rutledge, M.D.

  • Professor, Vice Chair of Research, UC Davis Internal Medicine
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Rutledge is an expert in atherosclerosis and lipid disorders. He specializes in preventive cardiology, lipid disorders and reversal of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease. His current laboratory research includes biology of the vascular wall, neuroinflammation, cognitive decline, and dementia.

Rachel Scherr, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Research Scientist, Department of Nutrition
  • GGNB Faculty
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.
3149 Meyer Hall

Carolyn Slupsky, Ph.D.

  • Chair, Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology; Professor, Department of Nutrition/Department of Food Science & Technology; Kinsella Endowed Chair, Food, Nutrition, and Health; Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Charles Stebbins, Ph.D.

  • Professor, Exercise Physiologist MED: Division of Cardiology
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Interests: The autonomic, hormonal, and vascular control of the cardiovascular system during exercise. Both animal and human models are studied. Current areas of interest include the effects of dietary supplementation with omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids on autonomic function, systemic vascular resistance, ventricular function, endothelial function, and skeletal muscle blood flow during exercise in both healthy individuals and those with cardiovascular disease.
TB 172

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

  • Professor, Chair, Department of Nutrition; Director, Didactic Program in Dietetics; Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Charles Stephensen, Ph.D.

  • Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition; Scientist, USDA ARS Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Stephensen’s research interests focus on the relation between nutritional status and infectious diseases, particularly the host immune response to infections and the impact of infections on nutritional status.
204 WHNRC
430 West Health Sciences Drive, Davis CA 95616

Christine Stewart, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition; Associate Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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.
3253B Meyer Hall

Ameer Taha, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Natalie Torok, M.D.

  • Professor
  • GGNB Faculty
Our lab is interested in studying liver fibrosis in non alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) a major liver disease occurring in obese or diabetic patients. Our goal is to evaluate the mechanism by which reactive oxidative species play a role in fibrogenesis and generate potential antifibrogenic therapy based on these findings.
UCDMC
4150 V Street, Suite 3500, Sacramento CA 95817

Craig Warden, Ph.D.

  • Associate Professor, MED: Pediatrics, Section on Neurobiology Physiology and Behavior, and Rowe Program in Human Genetics
  • GGNB Faculty
Research Interests: Biological causes of obesity are identified by searching for genes that increase fat accumulation in some people and not others. These studies are directed both at genes that cause obesity on high-fat diets and at genes that cause spontaneous obesity.
4437 Tupper Hall

Carl Winter, Ph.D.

  • Director, FoodSafe Program; Extension Food Toxicologist
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Winter researches the detection of pesticides and naturally-occurring toxins in foods, how to assess their risks and identify how to use the science in the regulatory decision-making process. His most recent work includes looking at the relationships between crop production systems and naturally-occurring toxins. He also studies how to improve educational activities through incorporation of music into food safety curricula.

Heather Young, R.N., Ph.D., M.S.N

  • Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean, Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing
  • GGNB Faculty
Dr. Young's current research focuses on medication management and safety in rural, assisted-living settings; technological approaches to promoting medication safety in rural hospitals and community-based strategies to promote health for rural older adults.
UCDHS
4601 X Street, Suite 4202, Sacramento CA 95817

Sheri Zidenberg-Cherr, Ph.D.

  • Specialist in Cooperative Extension, Department of Nutrition
  • GGNB Faculty
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 also co-directs the Center for Nutrition in Schools in the Department of Nutrition at University of California, Davis. The goal of the Center is to provide state-of the-art research, outreach, and educational programs to improve the nutrition knowledge, skills, and health outcomes of the nation’s children, assisting them in achieving their full potential academically, socially, and physically.
3149 Meyer Hall

Angela Zivkovic, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Nutrition Department; Assistant Nutritionist, Agricultural Experiment Station
  • GGNB Faculty
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

Susan Zunino, Ph.D.

  • Adjunct Associate Professor, Department of Nutrition; Research Molecular Biologist, Western Human Nutrition Research Center
  • GGNB Faculty
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.
203 WHNRC
430 West Health Sciences Drive, Davis CA 95616