Our lab focuses in solving practical problems and interesting chemical reactions in food using olives and olive oil as study cases.

We are always open to new members joining our lab (to stay or to visit) when we are able to accommodate them. If you are interested in getting to know us, feel free to send an email. Here are our current team members:

Shirley Wang

Xueqi Shirley Li

Shirley is the assistant director at the UC Davis Olive Center. Her daily job includes making sure everyone is doing well and feeling happy in the lab, working with Selina on her wonderful and/or crazy research ideas, and working with Dan with various olive center events and product sales. When she’s not playing with HPLC or GC in the lab, she likes reading, traveling, and snuggling with her cats. Shirley earned her master’s degree in food science from UC Davis in 2013. Her master’s thesis was on the effect of different cold storage conditions on the quality of extra virgin olive oil. She’s also a member of the olive oil tasting panel at Applied Sensory, which is both AOCS and IOC certified.

Lauren Crawford

Lauren Crawford

Lauren Crawford is a 4th year PhD candidate in Food Science and Technology. She received her B.S. in Food Science from Cornell University with a minor in Nutritional Sciences. Lauren’s research focuses on improving the quality, safety and authenticity of California-style table olives. She has been involved with food science outreach on campus including STEM for Girls and FFA Field Day. In her free time, Lauren enjoys running, reading, cooking, and playing piano. She also loves traveling and had the opportunity to study in Austria for 6 months. In the future, Lauren hopes to continue with research in an industry or government position.

Juan Polari

Juan Polari

Juan is a third year Ph.D. candidate in the Food Science and Technology department. He earned a degree in Chemistry from the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he developed most of his professional experience working in the field of fats and oils chemistry, focusing on quality assessment and bioactive compound purification for food applications. Juan’s research focuses on the impact of processing variables on volatile and phenolic compounds composition of virgin olive oils. After finishing his graduate studies, he expects to contribute to the development of the olive oil industry working towards the integration of academic and productive sectors.

Hilary Green

Hilary Green

Hilary is a second year PhD student in the Agricultural and Environmental Chemistry Graduate group. She completed her Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from the University North Carolina at Chapel. Throughout undergrad, her research focused on water and air pollution, but she has always had a passion for food and agriculture. Now at UC Davis, she is excited to be working on method development for the food industry. Her current project focuses on developing a more time efficient and cost-effective way to determine the purity and quality of edible oils. She hopes to use her degree to continue research either working for industry or with the government. In her free time Hilary likes to use her chemistry knowledge for baking projects, especially making and decorating cakes! She also enjoys playing piano, singing in choir, and going on road trips.

Filipa Grilo

Filipa Grilo

My name is Filipa and I am a PhD student from the University of Palermo, Italy. As a visiting scholar at the Olive Centre, I study the influence of harvesting time and canopy position on the drupe maturation and olive oil quality. Starting my studies in Portugal I found a passion for fruit physiology that lead me to a master degree in horticultural sciences. During my master’s degree, I had the chance to learn more about the influence of agricultural practices on fruit minor compounds to improve their nutritional value. After developing my experimental work on the influence of irrigation and maturation on orange nutritional value in Italy, I choose to remain and apply for a PhD. For my PhD project, olives enter in my life! I study the Sicilian olive germplasm collection and the cultural factors affecting olive oil quality. At the Olive Centre, you can find me either in the lab or in the fields among olive trees! In my free time, I enjoy hiking, reading, cooking and most of all travelling. I had the opportunity to travel, work and live in different countries but here in California the olive center lab-group made me found a new home!

Jie Ding

Jie Ding

My name is Jie Ding. I am currently a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Food Science. The first time I heard about the UC Davis Olive Center was through a recruiting email from the Food Science Department. I was looking for an internship opportunity to gain more experience in the lab. It was exactly what I was looking for. As an undergraduate research assistant intern, I was able to learn many useful methods, laboratory technique, and familiarize with olive products. During my free time, I love playing with my cats, sleeping, watching cooking videos, and discovering good restaurants around the world.

Klay Liu

Klay Liu

Klay is a fourth year undergraduate student, double majoring in Food Science and Forensic Chemistry. He is from Qingdao, China, the hometown of Tsingtao Beer. He is very interested in the chemical, structural and nutritional properties of food, and in the near future, he hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Food Science and further study the complex interaction between food and health. Being able to work with some incredible people and strengthen his expertise in analytical food chemistry, Klay really enjoys his time at the Olive Center. Besides taking classes and doing research, Klay is very active in the FST department. He currently works as an academic peer advisor for Food Science undergraduates and he is the Vice President of the Food Tech Club. He is also serving as a UC Davis representative at the Northern California Institute of Food Technologists (NCIFT). In his spare time, Klay loves spending time around animals with his vet-to-be girlfriend. He also enjoys playing poker, board games, billiard and basketball with friends.

Madison Means

Madison (Maddy) Means

My name is Maddy Means. I’m a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Forensic Chemistry at UC Davis. I started interning at the Olive Center over the summer because I was interested in how analytical chemistry can be used in all different fields—from solving crimes, to preserving the food we eat! I’m thrilled to have been able to get my feet wet in research through this lab and to have learned so many cool techniques. I’m looking forward to the rest of my time here and to my future career in science.

Katerina Roth

Katerina Roth

Katerina Roth is an undergraduate Food Science major. At the UC Davis Olive Center, she works as a research assistant in olive oil analysis and has volunteered for several Olive Center events. She particularly enjoys learning more about the chemical compositions of different olive oils. In addition to working in the Olive Center, Katerina works on her research project in the Simmons lab investigating fumigant degradation using food waste amendments. In her free time, Katerina enjoys being an officer for the Draft Horse and Driving Club on campus and can be found horseback riding and hiking with her two dogs

Andres Gonzales

Andres Gonzales

Hello, my name is Andres Gonzalez. I am a fourth-year food science major and very interested in learning about the many analytical methods utilized in examining the chemical components of food. Fortunately, interning at the olive center has provided me with that opportunity as well learning more information about olives and olive oil that I never knew existed. In my spare time I enjoy cooking, reading, and going to concerts. My future aspirations include working in the food industry in research and development or as a food safety auditor. Ideally, I would then attend grad school followed by working as a food scientist for NASA to develop food for astronauts.

Minh Le

Minh Le

I am Minh, a fourth-year undergraduate student majoring in Food Science. I enjoy learning about the different methods to analyze the chemical properties of olive oils and gaining hands-on experience on lab techniques I have only read about in textbooks. It has been a pleasure to meet and work with other students from diverse backgrounds. Outside of the UC Davis Olive Center, I have been driving for Unitrans since the Fall of 2015. In the past year, I started training new drivers and learned to drive the double deck buses. In my free time, I enjoy playing board games, swimming, and traveling with my friends and family.

Gerald Malvin

Gerald Malvin

My name is Gerald Malvin. I am currently a third year undergraduate student majoring in Food Science. As someone who came from a country where olive oil is not common, I was not familiar with olive oil prior to coming to the United States. I first knew of the Olive Center when a tasting session was held back in my freshman year when I was interning for Aggie Grown. I became interested because I didn't know there was so much behind olive oil in terms of flavor and chemical attributes. In my short time here as a lab intern, I have learned so much in terms of familiarizing myself with the different laboratory equipment that are used to measure various parameters of the olive oil. I am really excited to learn even more because I believe that the experiences i gain from this internship will be important for my future professional career.

Chang Lin

Chang Lin

Hi! My name is Chang Lin. I am a fourth year undergraduate student majoring in Food Science and Technology. I am from Guangzhou, a city in southern China. I joined the UC Davis Olive center because of my strong interest in the chemistry and preservation of olive oil. I learned a lot of lab techniques and knowledge on olive oil processing after participating in the lab as a research assistant. In the past 3 years, I learned the major lab techniques in Olive Center, and I am now conducting my own research project. In my free time, I like to learn new languages and try new cooking recipes. It is an honor to work in the lab, especially among talented researchers and other amazing interns.

Gary Adrian

Gary Adrian

I am Gary Adrian, and I am a third-year Food Science major student in University of California, Davis. I first learned about the UC Davis Olive Center when I volunteered for olive oil tasting tabling event during Picnic Day 2015, and since then my interest in olive oil has kept getting bigger. Growing up not using olive oil in my food, I never know how a humble food ingredient such as olive oil can have such complex attributes that constitute its quality. In the UC Davis Olive Center, I learn about the different chemical parameters and benefits of olive oil that makes me appreciate olive oil even more. The learning process here is very eye-opening, and I am excited to learn even more on how to produce olive oil with the highest quality.

Haley Fang

Haley Fang

My name is Haley Fang and I am an undergraduate student majoring in Food Science. I started off with the UC Davis Olive Center as a tasting intern my second year. Through this experience, I was able to familiarize myself with the oils that the school produced, learn a lot about the center, and learn what makes good olive oil. The following year, I was able to join as a lab intern. In my free time, I enjoy watching Netflix, listening to music, petting dogs, and napping. I also like to stay active by dancing and running.


Alumni

Graduate Student

  • Austin Phung (MS in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, 2018): Research Associate, Genentech

Undergraduate Students

  • Sherina Sim (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2019): Lab Analyst, Anresco Laboratories
  • Xavier Montalvan (BS in Chemistry, 2018): Environmental Scientist, California Department of Toxic Substances Control
  • Melina Nishida (BS in Chemistry, 2018): PharmD Student in the School of Pharmacy, USC
  • Ming Ying Kwong (BS in Chemistry, 2018): PhD Student in Food Science and Technology, UC Davis
  • Rixin Cao (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2018): MS Student in Food Science, University of British Columbia
  • Dee Ann Dela Cruz (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2018): Associate Food Scientist, Kagome USA, Inc.
  • Bashar Ammari (BS in Chemical Engineering, 2018): Chemical Engineer/Operations Group Manager, Anheuser-Busch
  • Chelsey Souza (BS in Chemistry, 2018): Preparing for Grad School in Toxicolgy/Ecotoxicology major (Go Chelsey!)
  • Chiaohwei Lee (BS in Chemistry, 2018): Taking a gap year in Vietnam!
  • Duangkamol (Dahlia) Yingyongkitmongkol (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2018)
  • Lu Li (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2017): Lab Chemist, California Olive Ranch
  • Ken Cunningham (BS in Biological Systems Engineering, 2017): R&D Engineer, Cresilon
  • Yanyao Yu (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2017): R&D Technologist, Mercer Foods
  • Brandi Kaspar (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2017): Co-Founder/Director Of Quality Assurance and Product Development, Nor Cal Food Solutions DBA Mad Will’s Food Company
  • Alicia Ying Lim (BS in Chemistry and BA in Japanese, 2017): Assistant Language Teacher of English as part of the JET Program
  • Suk Wah Wong (BS in Nutrition, 2017)
  • Ava Moin (BS in Molecular biology & Microbiology, 2016): Lab Assistant, Dynavax Technologies
  • Courtney Ngai (BS in Chemistry, 2016): PhD Student in Chemistry, UC Riverside
  • Dajun Yu (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2016): PhD Student in Food Science, Virginia Tech
  • Luyi Cao (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2016): Chemist, Mérieux NutriSciences - North America
  • Dongping Guo (BS in Food Science and Technology, 2016): Supply Chain Quality Technologist, Mercer Foods, LLC.
  • Grant Bremer (BS in Chemistry, 2015): Customer Success Engineer, PropelPLM
  • Won Chan Choi (BS in Chemistry, 2015): Scientific Researcher, Genentech
  • Quyen Anh Pham (BS in Chemistry, 2015): Research Associate Scientist, Johnson and Johnson
  • Jamie Shum (BS in Chemistry, 2015)

In this section

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