Academic and Research Faculty



Research Interests

bamforth_image002 Charlie Bamforth Anheuser-Busch Endowed Professor of Malting & Brewing Sciences, Department of
Food Science & Technology
Dr. Bamforth specializes in the science of malting and brewing. His current research program focuses primarily on the wholesomeness of beer, including studies on the psychophysics of beer perception, on polyphenols and on the residues from non-starchy polysaccharide digestion that constitute soluble fiber and potential prebiotics in beer. Research in the laboratory also embraces the enzymology of the brewing process, foam stability, preventing oxidation in wort and beer and alternative paradigms for beer production.
Daniela Barile_001 Daniella Barile Associate Professor and Chemist, Department of Food Science & Technology Dr. Barile’s research program focuses on milk functional glycomics. Her particular research interests are in combining an understanding of the chemical and biological properties of food components with analytics and engineering to characterize, bioseparate and biointegrate bioactive compounds in foods. In connection with this aim, her research spans three distinct but intersecting topics: i) analytical discovery of complex carbohydrates and peptides by advanced Mass Spectrometry, ii) development of efficient separation systems to isolate the identified carbohydrates in foods and food by-products, and iii) elucidation of the specific interaction of the carbohydrates with the human body and demonstrate the health benefits.
cbiltekoff Charlotte Biltekoff  Associate Professor, Departments of American Studies and Food Science & Technology Dr. Biltekoff’s research focuses broadly on the beliefs and values that inform American eating habits and specifically on the cultural aspects of dietary health. Her current research project entails in depth interviews aimed at understanding the factors that drive subjects’ food choices and how those factors interact with subjects’ conceptualizations of “a healthy diet” and “good choices.”
boulton Roger Boulton Stephen Sinclair Scott Endowed Chair in Enology, Department of Viticulture & Enology

Professor, Departments of Viticulture & Enology and Chemical Engineering

Dr. Boulton studies the chemical and biochemical engineering aspects of winemaking and distilled spirits production. His work involves fermentation and reaction kinetics; physical and chemical stability of wines; the mathematical modeling, computer simulation and control of enological operations; winery design (winemaking equipment selection, winery design and layout) and the economics of investment and operation. His current research involves a major effort into the phenomenon of copigmentation, a major color phenomenon in red wines, as well as fermentation interests involving juice composition and sulfide formation.
Dario Cantu Associate Professor and Systems Biologist, Department of Viticulture & Enology Dr. Cantu’s research group uses systems biology, comparative genomics and quantitative genetics to understand how plants interact with their environment and with pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms. Current objectives of Dr. Cantu’s research include the development of (i) immunization protocols for protecting plants from bacterial diseases, (ii) early detection tools for fungal diseases, (iii) new plant genotypes with durable genetic resistance to fugal diseases, and (iv) methods to mitigate the negative impact of disease or sub-optimal environmental conditions on crop yield and quality.
irwin-223x300 Irwin Ronaldo Donis-Gonzalez Assistant Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Dr. Donis-Gonzalez’s research focuses on post-harvest engineering, handling (storage, drying, etc.), traceability, and processing of agricultural commodities with a goal of reducing energy consumption while ensuring food quality and safety. These are critical issues for the fresh market fruit and vegetable, dried fruit, tree nut, and rice industries in California and the World.
fan_j Zhiliang (Julia) Fan Associate Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering Dr. Fan’s primary research interests are in advancing technologies for production of fuels and chemicals from renewable resources, including metabolic engineering and biocatalyst development; fermentation process development and modeling; biological and chemical process design and economic evaluation. Current research is focused on novel processes for ethanol and isobutanol production from cellulosic materials.
Bruce German_001 Bruce German Professor and Chemist, Department of Food Science & Technology Dr. German researches the role of fats and other components in the diet. He developes ways to assess health and metabolism in response to foods. Milk is the model he uses as a genetic blueprint for foods to support health. Milk evolves for the purpose of nourishing growing mammals and this evolutionary logic is the basis of the research to discover physical, functional and nutritional properties of milk components and to apply these properties as principles to foods.
guinard Jean-Xavier Guinard Professor and Sensory Scientist, Department of Food Science & Technology Dr. Guinard is a sensory scientist and consumer researcher, and co-director of the U.C. Davis Coffee Center.  His research focuses on the sensory properties of foods and beverages, how humans perceive them, and how they affect food choice and food intake and consumer behavior.
Linda Harris_001 Linda Harris Cooperative Extension Specialist in Microbial Food Safety

Professor, Department of Food Science & Technology

Dr. Harris’s research program is in the area of microbial food safety with a focus on the microbiology of fresh fruits and vegetables and nutmeats. My research team has worked to develop and validate standard methods for inoculation and recovery of pathogens from a range of produce items.  We have used these methods to evaluate the behavior of food borne pathogens in juices, and on fruits, vegetables and nutmeats stored under a variety of conditions. The methods have also been used to evaluate various sanitizers for their efficacy in reducing microbial populations on various cut and intact produce surfaces and to validate thermal and non-thermal processes for treating nuts.
Hildegardepreferred_DSC_0075_cropped copy Hildegard Heymann Distinguished Professor and Enologist, Department of Viticulture & Enology Dr. Heymann has worked in all areas of sensory science and has evaluated numerous food and non-food products including wine, meat, ice cream, cereals, juices, cat litter, soap, and toothpaste. At UC Davis Dr. Heymann has continued her work with descriptive analysis methodology and multivariate data analyses. She has also worked on spirits such as gin, mescal, tequila and whiskies, food-wine interactions, wine color perception, fruit such as raisins, melons, tomatoes and figs. Additionally, she is working with her Viticulture and Enology colleagues on the sensory evaluation of grapes and wines.
kuhl180x240 Tonya Kuhl Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering Dr. Kuhl is co-director of the UC Davis Coffee Center and co-instructor of “The Design of Coffee.” Her research focuses include:

  • Direct Measurements of Biological Membrane-Membrane Interactions
  • Ligand-Receptor Interactions
  • Polymer Thin-Films
  • Small Angle Scattering Studies of Interfacial Films
carlito-lebrilla Carlito Lebrilla Professor, Department of Chemistry Dr. Lebrilla’s research is focused on analytical chemistry with specific emphasis in the area of nutrition, disease markers, and mass spectrometric methods. Expertise in oligosaccharides and glycosylation of proteins and lipids, as well as broad efforts in science – encompassing instrument construction and development to investigating biological problems – provides unique perspectives that are employed to solve specific scientific problems.
Maria Marco Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology Dr. Marco’s research examines microorganisms for their contributions to altering food safety, food quality, and gut health. A common thread to her research is the investigation of the ecology and genetics of lactic acid bacteria (LAB) in food systems and the mammalian digestive tract. The broad objective of this research is to identify the attributes of LAB that can be used to guide improvements in food production to benefit human health.
Juan F. Medrano Professor, Department of Animal Science Dr. Medrano’s research focuses on applications of genomics and systems biology approaches to study genetic variation of complex traits. He currently leads the U.C. Davis project developing the first genome reference sequence of Coffea arabica to set the foundation of a coffee breeding program. He has also been a collaborator in the development of the new improved bovine genome assembly that will become available in 2017. Another area of work has focused in the genetics of milk composition, studying the health and nutritional properties of cow and human milk, and application of genetic markers to improve manufacturing properties of milk.
mills David Mills Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science

Professor, Departments of Viticulture & Enology and Food Science & Technology

Dr. Mills has over 20 years experience working on the molecular biology of Gram-positive microorganisms, with an emphasis on the lactic acid bacteria (LAB) and bifidobacteria used in food fermentations or active as probiotics. An overall goal of Dr. Mills research is to link genomic content, ecological context and specific strain behavior to better understand LAB biology in their “working” environments.
mitchell Alyson Mitchell Professor and Food Chemist, Department of Food Science & Technology Professor Mitchell’s research program investigates the basic chemical reactions and changes in composition that occur in fruits and vegetables as a result of breeding, pre- and post-harvest processes and developing mass spectral approaches for identifying and quantifying target and nontarget secondary plant metabolites for authentication, safety and biological relevance. Her research team helps identify strategies and processing innovations for retaining and optimizing levels of beneficial compounds in finished food products, and for decreasing the formation of toxic compounds (e.g. acrylamide, advanced lipid oxidation products, etc.,) in finished foods.
ristenpart180x240 William Ristenpart Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering Dr. Ristenpart is the director of the UC Davis Coffee Center, and co-instructor of “The Design of Coffee.” His research is in complex fluids, with an emphasis on using advanced high-speed video techniques to extract quantitative measurements from complicated phenomena. His group strives to answer fundamental scientific questions about a variety of systems where the transport behavior is paramount. Recent topics include: electrocoalescence of charged droplets, shear-induced deformation of red blood cells, and electrically-induced aggregation of food colloids.
rcr Ron C. Runnebaum Assistant Professor, Departments of Viticulture & Enology and Chemical Engineering Dr. Runnebaum has a joint appointment as Assistant Professor in Viticulture & Enology and in Chemical Engineering. His research program aims to combine his interests in sustainable winemaking with his research background in nanomaterials, adsorption, heterogeneous catalysis, and reaction engineering. Winemaking-related projects include 1) Developing materials to capture CO2 and volatile organic compounds, especially from fermentation; 2) Developing fundamental understanding for the production of chemicals from winery waste streams; and 3) Designing solid-state materials for the replacement of solution-based treatments, particularly those that could improve sustainability. In addition, Dr. Runnebaum continues to investigate fundamental structure-activity relationships in chemical adsorption and reaction by nanomaterials, including zeolites and supported organometallic clusters.
schladow180x240 Geoff Schladow Director, Tahoe Environmental Research Center

Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Professor Schladow’s area of interest is the interaction between fluid transport and mixing processes with water quality in natural and engineered systems.  Examples of such systems include lakes, rivers, estuaries and mining pits.  Using a combination of field experimentation, detailed laboratory studies and numerical modeling, he is better quantifying the critical flux paths in these systems. The results of this work will lead to improved methods of managing and controlling our water resources.
simmons Christopher Simmons Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science & Technology Dr. Simmons’ research focuses on improving energy and water use efficiency in food processing by reclaiming energy from waste biomass streams and developing strategies for waste water treatment and recycling. Specifically, high-throughput, massively parallel sequencing and bioinformatics approaches are used to characterize microbial communities that are able to deconstruct waste biomass into fermentable sugars under industrial conditions. These data are used to discover enzymes and molecular pathways that can improve industrial bioconversion of waste biomass into biofuels. Additionally, the microbial ecology of plant-soil systems exposed to food processing effluents is studied to develop strategies for recycling of food processing waste water to agriculture.
slupsky_carolyn Carolyn Slupsky Graduate Group Chair, Nutritional Biology

Professor, Departments of Nutrition and Food Science & Technology

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.
Allen Van Deynze Director of research at the UC Davis Seed Biotechnology Center and Associate Director of the UC Davis Plant Breeding Center Dr. Allen Van Deynze is the Director of Research at the Seed Biotechnology Center and Associate Director of the Plant Breeding Center at University of California, Davis. As part of the SBC’s mission to serve as a liaison between public institutions and seed industry, Allen is responsible for developing, coordinating and conducting research and generating and disseminating scientific and informational content for the Seed Biotechnology Center’s and Plant Breeding Center’s educational and outreach programs. His research focuses on developing and integrating genomics into plant breeding of California crops. He has programs on breeding for disease resistance and quality in pepper and spinach, and development and application of genomics in crops.
wexler180x240 Anthony Wexler Director, Air Quality Research Center

Professor, Departments of Mechanical & Aerospace Engineering and Civil & Environmental Engineering

Dr. Wexler’s research focuses on understanding the atmospheric processes that transport and transform particulate pollutants between their emission and their reception. Experimental, numerical, and theoretical approaches are employed. Focus is on urban and regional smog, and global climate change.
zivkovic_angela Angela Zivkovic Assistant Professor, Department of Nutrition 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.Dr. Zivkovic’s research 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.