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Who we are

Oct 14, 2013
The UC Davis Olive Center is a self-funded university/industry coalition that seeks to do for olives what UC Davis did for wine.

The world-renowned center brings together nearly 60 UC faculty members, research specialists and farm advisors who address the research and education needs of California olive growers and processors. The center also collaborates with institutions worldwide. The center’s co-chairs are Professor Michael McCarthy, Chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology; and Dr. Louise Ferguson, Extension Specialist in the Department of Plant Sciences.

Staff
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Dan Flynn
Executive Director, UC Davis Olive Center

Email: jdflynn@ucdavis.edu
Phone: (530) 752-5170

Dan Flynn is the director of the UC Davis Olive Center, overseeing education, outreach, products and strategy.  He served as a consultant to the California State Legislature from 1985 to 2004 in a variety of policy areas and is the former owner and manager of an organic farm in the Sierra foothills. Dan received a B.A. in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and a M.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University.

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Selina Wang, PhD
Research Director, UC Davis Olive Center; Adjunct Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology

Email:
Phone: (530) 752-0612

Dr. Selina Wang is the research director of the UC Davis Olive Center and a faculty at the Department of Food Science and Technology. She received a PhD in Organic Chemistry from UC Davis and her post-doctoral project on evaluating the quality of extra virgin olive oil in supermarkets received worldwide attention in 2010 and 2011. Dr. Wang works closely with researchers and industry stakeholders and has developed more than 100 research projects in table olives and olive oil - including domestic/international standards, chemical method developments for rapid testing of quality and purity, best practices for harvesting/processing/storage, to byproduct management and health benefits.

Shirley Li
Assistant Director, UC Davis Olive Center

Email:

Phone: (530) 752-3176

Shirley Li is the assistant director of the UC Davis Olive Center, performing research and administrative duties including leading and assisting undergraduate and graduate students on research projects, establishing lab protocols, coordinating center events and short courses, and facilitating the sales of center products. Shirley received a B.S. in food science and technology at the Jiangnan University in China, and a M.S. in Food Science from the University of California, Davis.

UC FACULTY AND RESEARCH SPECIALISTS

Dr. James Adaskaveg Professor, Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, UC Riverside

Research:  Epidemiology and management of olive knot

Dr. Khaled Bali Director, UCCE Imperial County

Research: Olive growing trials in desert environment

Dr. Diane Barrett  Professor Emerita, Department of Food Science and Technology

Research: Table olive processing and packaging types for olive oil

Dr. Alan Bennett Professor, Department of Plant Sciences and Executive Director, PIPRA

Potential of UC Davis Olive Center model in Chile

Dr. Kyria Boundy-Mills Curator, Phaff Yeast Culture Collection

Research: Starter cultures for fermented olives

Dr. Chris Calvert Professor Emeritus, Department of Animal Science

Research: Examining impacts on eggs through feeding olive mill byproducts to hens

Dr. Thomas Collins Director of Research, Food Safety and Measurement Facility

Research: Food authentication and traceability

Dr. Joseph Connell UCCE Extension Specialist Emeritus, Butte County (retired)

Instructor, Olive Center short courses.

Dr. Kent Daane UCCE Extension Specialist, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley

Research: Olive fruit fly parasitoids, black scale management

Dr. Ted DeJong Professor, Department of Plant Sciences

Research: Establishment of research olive block at the Wolfskill Experimental Orchard

Dr. Ed DePeters Professor Department of Animal Science

Research: Nutritional value of olive mill byproducts in animal feed

Dr. Mark Facciotti Associate Professor, Department of Biomedical Engineering

Research: Rapid biosensor for olive oil rancidity

Dr. Louise Ferguson Extension Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences and Co-Chair, UC Davis Olive Center

Research: Mechanical harvesting of table olives and instructor at short courses

Dr. Elizabeth Fichtner UCCE Extension Specialist, Tulare County

Research: Epidemiology and management of olive knot, alternate-bearing cycle of olive.  Instructor, Olive Center short courses

Dr. Oliver Fiehn Professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and Genome Center

Research: DNA in olive oil

Dr. Edwin Frankel Adjunct Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology (retired)

Research:  Chemical analysis of olive oil as well as review of olive oil analytical methods, table olive processing methods and olive oil dietary studies

Dr. Jackie Gervay-Hague Professor, Department of Chemistry

Research: Metabolite profiling of olive oil

Dr. Bruce German Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology and Director, Foods for Health Institute

Research: Health impacts of olive oil in the diet

Dr. Peter Green Associate Research Engineer, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Research: Olive mill waste management

Dr. Brad Hanson Extension Specialist, Department of Plant Sciences

Research:  Weed management in olive orchards

Dr. Roberta Holt Staff Research Associate, Department of Nutrition

Research:  Olive oil impact on health

Dr. Deborah Golino Director, Foundation Plant Services

Research: Establishing an olive foundation block

Dr. Jean-Xavier Guinard Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology and Director, UC Education Abroad Program

Research: Sensory analysis and consumer testing of table olives , established and trained olive oil sensory panel

Dr. Linda Harris Director of Research, Western Institute for Food Safety and Security, Extension Specialist

Research: Microbiological food safety of olive oil processing

Dr. Clare Hasler-Lewis Executive Director, Robert Mondavi Institute

Research: Counsel and staff support

Dr. Dirk Holstege Director, UC Davis Analytical Laboratory

Research: Chemical analysis of olive oil

Dr. Judy Jernstedt Associate Professor, Department of Plant Sciences

Research: Temperature impacts on olive fruit set

Dr. Marshall Johnson Entomologist and IPM Specialist Emeritus, UC Riverside (retired)

Research: Screening and selection of natural enemies of the olive fruit fly, evaluating the threat of the olive psyllid

Dr. Annie King Professor, Department of Animal Science

Research: Examining impacts on shelf life of processed meat through feeding olive mill byproducts to hens

Dr. Karen Klonsky Specialist in Cooperative Extension, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Research: Cost and return for olive oil and table olive production

William Krueger Farm Advisor Emeritus, Glenn and Tehama Counties

Research: Olive fruit fly monitoring, olive orchard irrigation.  Instructor, Olive Center short courses.

Dr. Mark Kurth Professor, Department of Chemistry

Research: Phenol profiling of olive oil wastewater

Dr. Danielle Lightle UCCE Extension Specialist, Glenn and Tehama Counties

Research: Olive Fruit Fly management

Dr. Travis Lybbert Associate Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Research: Economic analysis of new California olive oil standards and production systems in developing nations

Dr. Maria Marco Assistant Professor and Microbiologist, Department of Food Science and Technology

Research: Causes and solutions for defects in Sicilian-Style olives

Dr. William Matthews Post-Doctoral Scholar, Agricultural Issues Center

Research: Economic analysis of the olive market in the United States

Dr. Mike McCarthy Professor Emeritus and Chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology

Research: Economic analysis of the olive market in the United States

Dr. John Newman Research Chemist, USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center

Associate Adjunct Professor, UC Davis Department of Nutrition

Dr. Alyson Mitchell Associate Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology

Research: Causes and solutions for acrylamide formation in black-ripe olives

Dr. Zhongli Pan Adjunct Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Research: Infrared heating for drying olive mill byproducts

Dr. Vito Polito Co-Chair, UC Davis Olive Center and Professor Emeritus, Department of Plant Sciences

Research: Olive irrigation.  Olive Center leadership, establishment of organic and conventional olive orchards, instructor,at short courses.

Dr. William Ristenpart Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering

Research:  Electromagnetic response of oil droplets in table olive processing

Dr. Maher al Rwahnih Project Specialist, Foundation Plant Services

Research: Olive viruses

Dr. Adib Rowhani Project Specialist, Foundation Plant Services

Research: Olive viruses

Dr. Charles Shoemaker Co-Chair, UC Davis Olive Center and Professor Emeritus, Department of Food Science and Technology (retired)

Research: Olive Center leadership, chemical analysis of olive oil and establishment of Olive Center chemistry laboratory 

Dr. Sharon Shoemaker Director, California Institute for Agricultural Research

Research: Facilitator of Olive Center research opportunities

Dr. Steve Sibbett UCCE Farm Advisor, Tulare County (retired)

Research: Olive growing best practices

Dr. Justin Siegel Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine

Research:  Developing novel enzymes for biosensor for olive oil rancidity and olive debittering

Dr. Christopher Simmons Assistant Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology

Research:  Treatment of olive wastewater via microbial fuel cells

Dr. Paul Singh Professor Emeritus, Department of Food Science and Technology

Research:  Heat transfer during heating and frying of olive oil

Dr. Gary Smith Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology

Research:  Enzyme activities in debittering olives

Dr. Daniel Sumner Executive Director, Agricultural Issues Center and Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics

Research: Economic analysis of the olive market in the United States.

Dr. Emily Symmes UCCE Statewide IPM Advisor

Research: Olive fly management

Dr. Ilias Tagkopoulos Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science

Research: Rapid biosensor for olive oil rancidity

Dr. Kris Tollerup UCCE IPM Advisor

Research: Olive fly management

Dr. Bob Van Steenwyck UCCE Extension Specialist Emeritus, Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management, UC Berkeley

Research: Olive fruit fly management

Paul Vossen UCCE Farm Advisor Emeritus, Sonoma and Marin Counties

Research: Olive oil processing, sensory evaluation, olive irrigation, olive fly management.  Instructor, Olive Center short courses

Dr. Neil Willits Senior Statistician, Department of Statistics

Research: Consumer surveys and supermarket sampling

Dr. Frank Zalom Professor and Vice-Chair, Department of Entomology

Research: Olive fruit fly management

Dr. Ruihong Zhang Professor, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Research: Use of olive mill byproducts as bio-mass

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UC Davis Olive Center

The UC Davis Olive Center is a self-funded university/industry coalition that seeks to do for olives what UC Davis did for wine.

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