Faculty members include Lindsay Allen, Caroline Chantry, Kathryn Dewey, Jane Heinig, Carl Keen, Bo Lönnerdal, Christine Stewart and Mark Underwood.

These faculty members are internationally known for their groundbreaking research in the area of Maternal and Child Nutrition and have been highly influential in shaping both U.S. and international policy with respect to maternal and child health. Specific professional and research interests of participating faculty include:

  • The influence of diet during pregnancy on embryonic and fetal development
  • Zinc metabolism during pregnancy and lactation
  • Calcium homeostasis during pregnancy and lactation
  • Assessment of energy balance during pregnancy
  • Teratogenic effects of deficiencies and excesses of trace elements
  • Nutritional status, growth, and development of infants
  • Risk factors for insufficient breast milk production
  • Impact of maternal nutrition and exercise on lactation
  • Complementary feeding of breastfed infants
  • Determinants of infant feeding practices
  • Causes, complications, treatment, and prevention of childhood malnutrition in developing countries
  • Assessment of child growth in developed and developing countries
  • Association between infection and nutritional status in infants and children
  • Acculturation and food insecurity and their effect on the child-parent feeding relationship
  • Food intake and health outcomes among diverse populations
  • Predictors of overweight in pre-schoolers
  • Nutrition interventions in young children
  • Breast milk's role in preventing gastrointestinal diseases in infants

Lindsay H. Allen, Ph.D., R.D., is the director of the USDA Western Region Human Nutrition Research Center located on the UC Davis campus. She is an expert on the prevalence, causes, and consequences of micronutrient deficiencies in developing countries and has conducted numerous interventions to assess the efficacy of micronutrient supplements and food-based approaches to improve nutritional status, pregnancy outcome and child development. Allen has served on the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Academy of Sciences, and has been active in the development of the new Dietary Reference Intakes. She serves as an adviser to bilateral and international agencies, including World Health Organization, UNICEF, the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank, PAHO, and FAO and has served as the President of the American Society of Nutritional Sciences and the president of the Society for International Nutrition Research. Allen was awarded the Kellogg International Nutrition Prize by the American Society for Nutritional Sciences in 1997.

Caroline J. Chantry, M.D., is a professor of Clinical Pediatrics at the University of California, Davis, Medical Center, where she serves as medical director of the Newborn Nursery and teaches general pediatrics in both inpatient and outpatient settings. She previously served as president of the Academy of Breastfeeding Medicine and actively contributed to ABM’s Protocol Committee for more than a decade. Her research interests are in pediatric nutrition, with an emphasis in breastfeeding. Current topics of investigation include: delayed umbilical cord clamping in cesarean deliveries, heat-treatment of breast milk and ankyloglossia.

Kathryn Dewey, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Nutrition and director of the Program in International and Community Nutrition at UC Davis. She has published more than 300 papers on maternal and child nutrition in both high- and low-income countries, with a focus on lactation and infant nutrition and growth. She has served as an expert consultant for the World Health Organization, UNICEF and other organizations, and as president of the Society for International Nutrition Research and the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation. Dewey has received numerous awards including the Macy-György Award from the International Society for Research on Human Milk and Lactation in 2012 and the Kellogg Prize for International Nutrition from the Society for International Nutrition Research in 2005.

Jane Heinig, Ph.D., IBCLC, is an academic administrator in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis and the executive director of the UC Davis Human Lactation Center. She is an international board-certified lactation consultant. Heinig’s research area is maternal and child nutrition in public health settings, focusing on infant feeding and lactation. Current topics of investigation include: a) behavioral theory and its relation to infant and toddler feeding intentions and practices among diverse populations; b) translation and scale-up of research findings to broad-scale programmatic interventions, c) influence of medical practices and policies on breastfeeding rates; and d) behavioral factors influencing growth trajectories of infants and toddlers.

Carl L. Keen, Ph.D., is a professor in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis. Keen's research group has three main areas of activities. The first concerns the influence of diet on embryonic and fetal development. A major theme in his laboratory is that a significant proportion of birth defects are the consequence of embryonic and/or fetal malnutrition. Thus, the correction of nutritional deficiencies during early development should result in a marked reduction in pregnancy complications. A second research theme in his group is the study of gene-nutrient interactions, with an emphasis on how subtle changes in cell mineral concentrations influence the expression of select genes. The third major research theme in his laboratory is the study of how diet influences oxidant defense systems, and as a consequence the occurrence of cellular oxidative damage. Keen was awarded the American Institute of Nutrition Bio-Serv Award in Experimental Animal Nutrition in 1985 and the American Institute of Nutrition Research Award (the Bordon Award) in 1995.

Bo Lönnerdal, Ph.D., is a professor in the Nutrition Department at UC Davis. Lönnerdal's research program is focused on two main areas: infant/pediatric nutrition and trace element metabolism. Current research topics include: a) studies on factors affecting breast milk composition, including maternal nutrition, hormones, and stage of lactation; b) mechanisms for nutrient uptake by mammary cells as well as expression of genes encoding human milk proteins; c) bioavailability of nutrients to infants and how this is affected by the mode of feeding, including receptor-mediated uptake mechanisms in the small intestine; d) iron, zinc, copper, and selenium nutrition of infants, children, and adolescents; e) bioactive factors in milk; f) trace element uptake and transport by biological membranes, including receptor-mediated uptake of trace elements by the placenta, intestine, liver; and g) nutrient-nutrient interactions. Lönnerdal has received numerous awards including the Nenning Throne-Holst's Award for Research in Nutritional Physiology, the Borden Award, and the International Award for Modern Nutrition.

Christine Stewart, Ph.D., M.P.H., is an associate professor in the Department of Nutrition at UC Davis.

Mark Underwood, M.D., M.S.A., is an associate professor of clinical pediatrics and the chief of the Division of Neonatology, UC Davis Health System. His clinical activities are in the care of premature and sick newborn infants in the neonatal intensive care unit at UC Davis Children’s Hospital. Dr. Underwood’s research focuses on the gastrointestinal disease necrotizing enterocolitis; development of intestinal innate immunity; and mechanisms of action of probiotics and prebiotics in pre-term infants. His research projects include clinical trials of probiotics and prebiotics in premature infants, analysis of human milk oligosaccharides and human milk peptides, and animal models of necrotizing enterocolitis.