Faculty

Christine McDonald, Sc.D.

  • Assistant Scientist, Children's Hospital Oakland Research Institute
  • 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.

Yanhong Liu, Ph.D.

  • Assistant 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.

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.

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.

Peng Ji, Ph.D.

  • Assistant 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

Melanie Gareau, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Adjunct Professor and Researcher 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.

Elizabeth Prado, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
Dr. Prado's research focuses on nutrition and child development. Her research interests also include caregiving, health and other influences on child development in low-resource settings, evaluating programs and policies to support children to achieve their developmental potential, and cross-cultural developmental and cognitive assessment.
3243 Meyer Hall

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

Gerardo Mackenzie, Ph.D.

  • Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition
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