Interim director named for Innovation Institute for Food and Health

Justin Siegel
Photo: Justin Siegel mugshot

Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi has tapped Justin Siegel, assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular medicine (School of Medicine) and chemistry (College of Letters and Science), to serve as interim faculty director of the newly launched Innovation Institute for Food and Health.

Announced last fall and launched in January 2015, the institute is a partnership with Mars, Incorporated dedicated to generating big-impact breakthroughs in food, agriculture and health. The institute serves as the innovation arm of the UC Davis World Food Center, engendering collaborations across the UC system and beyond to advance new discoveries and stimulate innovation. Mars is committing $40 million over the next 10 years in support of the institute.

As interim faculty director, Siegel is charged with providing leadership in developing the vision and initial strategy for the institute and collaborating with UC Davis faculty and administration in creating the institute’s operational framework. He will work closely with World Food Center leadership and stakeholders across the UC Davis community during the institute’s critical first stages. In addition, Siegel will assist in recruiting a permanent director.  

A UC Davis alum, Siegel joined the faculty in 2012 after completing a Ph.D. in biochemistry at the University of Washington. His research focuses on developing fundamental knowledge of enzyme catalysis as a means to designing novel proteins for therapeutic and commercial use.

He has three academic appointments: School of Medicine, College of  Letters and Science and Genome Center. He was awarded an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship in 2014.

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