Happier, Healthier, Longer Lives For Everyone
The economic, social, and environmental impacts of the food system are being disrupted by a new generation of technologies reimaging the relationship between food and human health. While much attention recently has been focused on the possibilities presented by “alternative” food ingredients, this will likely be eclipsed in both value and impact by the food and health transformation. An increasingly informed consumer is a key stakeholder and decision maker who will seek benefits for themselves and their families, and in turn, drive disruption across food and health systems.
New records are constantly being set for foodtech investment, but much of the new wave of discovery in food and health has not yet made it in into the marketplace. As is typically the case with new scientific discoveries, there is a gap between the basic research that creates new insights, and the development of technology, tools and companies which translate these insights into products and services used by people every day to live happier, healthier, longer lives.
The Institute aims to – with its partners – bridge this gap between research and commercialization by facilitating innovation through programming in three key program areas: Use-Inspired Research, Talent Development, and Market Discovery.
As a scientist with 10 years of research experience, Dr. Abrieux developed an expertise in insect physiology, molecular biology and genetics to tackle problems related to crop production sustainability and food security by translating basic research into applied solutions. With a profound interest for the development of innovative approaches in biotechnology he is now using his scientific skillset to position IIFH at the center of meaningful and engaging conversations at the nexus of food and health.
Michael is a fourth year undergraduate at UC Davis pursuing a B.S. in cognitive science with a computational emphasis and a minor in computer science. After graduating, he will pursue a M.B.A. degree in technology innovation and business management to further define his entrepreneurial skills with an ultimate goal of launching his own technology start-up. Drawing on his desire to help people and drive change through innovative solutions, Michael will assist the IIFH team in building systems to drive innovation in food and health.
Having led technology, finance and healthcare teams in large corporations, small-businesses, start-ups and private equity groups for more than 15 years, Mary is well-poised to manage IIFH administrative systems, as well as provide operational support to the team. Mary’s experience and passion allow her to uniquely align IIFH processes into actionable outputs that support uncommon collaborations to address global nutritional challenges.
Rene is a fourth year undergraduate at UC Davis pursuing his B.S. in cognitive science with a computational emphasis and double minoring in economics and technology management. Looking forward, he wishes to pursue his M.B.A. degree, combining computer science and data analysis with business administration. Motivated to expand his knowledge and eager to drive results, Rene brings a valuable perspective to the team and is well-positioned to help IIFH build systems driving innovation in food and health.
Veronica draws on diverse experience organizing and hosting regional events and outreach to provide management support for complex institute initiatives. Her administrative strengths facilitate the strategic engagements and face-paced schedule of the Faculty Director, and his team of research scientists. Previously on campus, Veronica worked with the Department of Medical Microbiology & Immunology, Continuing & Professional Education, and the Davis Humanities Institute.
Driven to manage and develop impactful communication campaigns, Marissa draws on a diverse background in strategic communication, brand management and graphic design for local and statewide organizations. Through innovative approaches to design, marketing, social media, web and events, Marissa creatively explores IIFH’s unique place among uncommon collaborators from academia, government, non-profits, industry and investors.
Justin B. Siegel
As a UC Davis Associate Professor in Chemistry, Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine, Dr. Siegel’s scientific focus is the design and discovery of enzymes relevant to issues in modern society – from treating Celiac disease to optimizing biofuel production and food system sustainability. As the IIFH Faculty Director, he works with academic and industry groups in building a vibrant translational research ecosystem across the food sector.
Working to reimagine health and food, Wesley serves as the Executive Chair of Institute, connecting investors and companies with cutting-edge health insights and food technologies. He is also partner at Cornucopian Capital, a private capital firm making pre-seed and seed investments in metabolic health and chairs Barnstorm, a company foundry. He has worked at the World Economic Forum, Walmart, Mars, USAID, and NASA; and has experience in retail, food manufacturing and marketing, public health, science policy, and economics.