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UC Davis Experts Available for Media on Topics Related to Food and Agriculture

The interdisciplinary nature of the University of California, Davis, yields a deep bench of food and agriculture experts who can discuss with reporters various aspects of issues connected to food and agriculture and the many facets of life it touches.

The following sources from the University of California, Davis, are available to talk with media about food and agriculture issues.

Find experts by category in the lists below:

Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Experts

Ermias Kebreab is Associate Dean of Global Engagement (College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences), Director of the World Food Center and a professor of Animal Science. He can discuss nutrient requirements of dairy cattle and environmental impact of livestock. In particular, he can discuss strategies to reduce methane emissions from livestock production systems, including research involving feed additives such seaweed’s potential to cut methane emissions in beef and dairy cattle. Contact: 530-752-5907,

J. Edward Taylor is Professor and Vice Chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Davis. He can discuss the implications of a diminishing farm labor supply and what it means for the future of California and U.S. agriculture. Contact:

Michael Carter is professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and Director of the Assets and Market Access Innovation Lab. He can speak on constraints to the adoption of improved agricultural technologies by small-scale farmers in Africa, agricultural insurance, and about forces that shape poverty and food insecurity in rural areas of Africa and Latin America. Contact: 530-752-4672,

Dr. Alireza Pourreza is an assistant cooperative extension specialist of agricultural mechanization in the department of biological and agricultural engineering at the University of California, Davis. Dr. Pourreza conducts research and extension education in the fields of precision agriculture, mechanization, robotics, and sensing. He also advises students, post-docs, and works with visiting scholars. Contact: 530-752-9290,

Irwin R. Donis-Gonzalez is a Engineering Specialist in Cooperative Extension at the Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, and the Latin American Relations faculty member at the UC Davis Coffer Center at UC Davis. His area of expertise includes postharvest engineering, handling (storage, drying, and refrigeration), 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. Contact: 530-752-8986,

Daniel A. Sumner is director of the UC Agricultural Issues Center and the Buck
Distinguished Professor in the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. He can discuss economics issues in food and agriculture, include those related to farm costs, policy, food and commodity markets, international trade and sustainability. He works on such California farm products as almonds and other tree nuts, wine grapes, berries and other fruits, alfalfa hay, cotton, cannabis, beef, pork, eggs and milk. Contact: 530-752-1668,

Travis Lybbert is a Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics and can discuss the economics of food production and food systems in developing countries and the management of disease and other risks in agriculture in both international and domestic settings. Contact: 530-554-1393,

Stavros Vougioukas is an Associate Professor in the department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering. He is an expert on agricultural robotics. He can discuss automation and mechanization technologies for specialty crops production. Examples include harvest-aid automation, harvesting robots, autonomous guidance, and post-harvest automation. Contact: 530-7521890,

Tom Tomich is the founding director of the Agricultural Sustainability Institute and inaugural holder of the WK Kellogg Endowed Chair in Sustainable Food Systems at UC Davis, where he teaches in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems program. He also directs the UC statewide Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (UC SAREP). His research spans agriculture and farming systems, economic development, food policy, and natural resource management both on a local and global scale. Contact: 530-752-3915,

Animal Science Experts

Frank Mitloehner is a professor and air quality specialist in the Department of Animal Science. He is an expert in benchmarking and mitigating of air pollutants and greenhouse gases from animal agriculture. Contact: 530-752-3936,

Cassandra Tucker is the Director of the Center for Animal Welfare and a Professor in the Animal Science Department. Her area of expertise is animal welfare, particularly for dairy and beef cattle. She conducts research on housing and management of cattle and works with industry programs and non-governmental agencies focused on animal welfare policy and assessment. Contact: 530-754-5750,

Alison Van Eenennaam is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Animal Genomics and Biotechnology in the Department of Animal Science. Her research includes the use of modern biotechnologies, including cloning, genetic engineering and gene editing, in livestock breeding and production systems, with a special emphasis on cattle. She is also a frequent keynote speaker on the importance of innovation to agricultural sustainability. Contact: 530-752-1250,

Richard Blatchford is an Assistant Extension Specialist for Small to Large Scale Poultry in the Department of Animal Science. He can discuss housing, management, and the behavior and welfare of backyard chickens,egg laying hens, and meat producing broiler chickens. This includes behavioral management of chickens and policy decisions such as CA's Prop 12. Contact: 530-752-8763,

Maurice Pitesky is a faculty member and extension specialist with a focus in poultry production and food safety epidemiology. He can discuss strategies to reduce foodborne illness and strategies to reduce antimicrobial resistant bacteria associated with poultry production. Contact: 530-752-3215,

John Angelos directs the Center for Food Animal Health at the School of Veterinary Medicine and is professor and chair in the Department of Medicine and Epidemiology. He can discuss curriculum development in the area of food safety and security from a one health perspective. Contact: 530-754-9730,

Food, Nutrition and Health Experts

Carolyn Slupsky is a professor with dual appointment in the Department of Nutrition and Department of Food Science and Technology. She leads a multi-disciplinary team that focuses on understanding how microbes direct eukaryotic metabolism. Her team incorporates a muti-omics systems biology approach focusing on two major areas: (1) the impact of diet and environment on gut microbial structure/function and host health; and (2) the impact of pathogens on citrus health to define new markers for early detection of citrus greening disease. Contact: 530-752-6804,

Christine Stewart is the Interim Director of the Institute for Global Nutrition and Associate Professor of Nutrition. She can discuss strategies to improve maternal and child nutrition and micronutrient nutrition in low and middle income countries. Contact: 530-752-6697,

Kevin Gee is an Associate Professor in the School of Education and a faculty affiliate with the Center for Poverty Research. He has expertise in understanding how food insecurity influences the cognitive and behavioral outcomes of young children. Contact: 530-752-9334,

Mark Underwood is the chief of the division of neonatology and a professor in the department of pediatrics. He can discuss the importance of human milk in shaping the microbiota of the term infant and in decreasing the risks of infection and necrotizing enterocolitis in preterm infants. Contact: 916-734-8672,

Food Science and Technology Experts

Christopher Simmons is an associate professor of Food Science and Director of Research and Outreach at the Western Center for Agricultural Health and Safety. He can discuss food system sustainability issues and strategies, including water and energy management in food production and processing, food waste recycling and valorization, and soil health management. Contact: 530-752-2109,

Edward (Ned) Spang is the founding faculty member of the Food Loss and Waste Collaborative and a professor of food science and technology. He can discuss the measurement and characterization of food loss and waste, the environmental impact of food waste, food recovery, and advanced solutions and technologies for food waste recycling (including anaerobic digestion). Contact: 530-754-5447,

Carlito Lebrilla is a Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine. His interests are in carbohydrate components of food and how they interact with microbiomes. His laboratory has expertise in advanced chromatography and mass spectrometric techniques for the analysis of carbohydrates, including monosaccharides, oligosaccharides, and polysaccharides in food, plants, and animal tissues. Contact: 530-752-6364,

Linda J. Harris is a Cooperative Extension Specialist in Microbial Food Safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She can discuss a broad range of microbial food safety issues from production (agriculture) to processing through to final preparation in food service or the home. Contact:

Bruce German is Professor of Food Chemistry and Director of the Foods for Health Institute. He can discuss the health value of foods and the concepts of personalized diets. He can discuss the importance of human milk and especially the role of breast feeding in the development of infants. Contact:

Erin DiCaprio is an Assistant Cooperative Extension Specialist of food safety in the Department of Food Science and Technology. She has expertise in microbial food safety, on farm food safety related to produce production, food safety of processed foods, and food regulations. She teaches extension courses for the food industry including the Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule Grower Course, Food Safety Modernization Act Preventive Controls for Human Foods Preventive Controls Qualified Individual Course, the Better Process Control School, and the Acidified Foods Manufacturing School and she is the regional lead for the Western Regional Center to Enhance Food Safety. She also co-hosts the UC Food Safety website which contains food safety information for consumers, growers, and food processors. Contact: 530-752-6594,

Dan Flynn is executive director of the UC Davis Olive Center, which is a global leader in olive research and education. He can discuss olive growing and processing, standards, quality assessment and policy. Contact: 530-752-5170,

Plant Sciences Experts

Diane M Beckles is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Sciences. Her expertise includes issues related to (1) the post-harvest quality of horticultural crops, (2) agricultural plant biotechnology and (3) the structure and composition of starch as it relates to its use as a biomaterial, biofuel, and how it influences the hedonistic value of food. Contact: 530-754-4779,

Abhaya Dandekar is a Professor of Plant Sciences and faculty director of the Plant Transformation Facility. He can discuss the genetic manipulation of plants to improve their quality and productivity and how plant cells can be used as a platform to make non-agricultural products. Contact: 530-752-7784,

Pamela Ronald is director of the Institute for Food and Agriculture and a professor of Plant Pathology at the Genome Center. She can discuss genetic strategies to advance sustainable agriculture. Contact: 530-752-1654,

Kent J. Bradford was director of the Seed Biotechnology Center and associate director of the World Food Center at UC Davis. He is an expert in seed biology and production, plant breeding and crop biotechnology. He has also worked internationally on improving the drying and storage of seeds and foods to reduce waste and improve food safety. Bradford retired in June 2019, but is still willing to talk on the aforementioned topics. Contact:

Neelima Sinha is a professor of Plant Biology. She can discuss plants genetics, strategies to improve productivity in tomatoes, methods for genome editing in crops, and parasitic plant control strategies. Contact: 530-754-8441,

Gail Taylor is professor and Chair of the department of Plant Sciences. She is an expert in leafy green salad crops - breeding, genetics and genomics, biotechnology, food safety and environmental footprinting and sustainability. Her other research is concerned with the use of green plants as sources of sustainable, renewable energy, including liquid biofuel, aviation fuel, heat and b power and Bioenergy with Carbon capture and Storage (BECCS). Contact: 530-752-9165,

Siobhan Brady is an Associate Professor in the Department of Plant Biology and the Genome Center. She can discuss systems biology or genomics approaches related to plant breeding, especially from the perspective of the often-overlooked root systems. She performs research on plant roots in tomato, Sorghum and the model organism, Arabidopsis thaliana. Contact: 530-752-5183,

Viticulture and Enology Experts

Andrew Waterhouse is a Professor of Enology as well as the director of the Robert Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science. He is a wine chemist and can discuss general wine related topics, as well as his research areas which include wine tannins (antioxidants), barrels, corks and other closures, wine aging, and the health effects of wine and other alcoholic beverages. As a chemist he can also discuss the analysis of foods as well as some issues related to food components, such as carbohydrates and fats, and materials recovered from food waste. Contact: 530-752-4777,