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Danielle Lemay Ph.D.

by jiopark — last modified Oct 06, 2015 07:56 PM
Danielle Lemay, Ph.D.

Head of Bioinformatics Initiatives, Foods for Health Institute


In 1995, I earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from MIT. My undergraduate research was the development of signal processing for the profoundly hearing impaired under the direction of Prof. Louis D. Braida. I began my career as an engineer, designing circuits in Silicon Valley. After paying off school loans, I returned to graduate school in 2003 to apply bioinformatics to nutrition research.  In 2005, I earned an M.S. in Nutritional Biology from UC Davis in the lab of Prof. Daniel Hwang. My master's thesis was the computational identification of binding sites for peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) because dietary components mediate genetic expression through these proteins. In 2008, I earned a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology from UC Davis in the lab of Prof. J. Bruce German with a doctoral dissertation on the systems biology of lactation.  As a post-doctoral researcher, I was part of the Bovine Genome Sequencing and Analysis Consortium and led a team of 19 scientists, with Monique Rijnkels, to produce a companion paper devoted to the evolution of milk and lactation.

Research Interests

 Over the past century, nutrition scientists have identified nutrients that are essential to our survival through a type of fault model analysis. Using various animal models, each nutrient in question was systematically removed and/or replenished in effort to determine whether or not the nutrient is essential and what dose is required to minimize morbidity.  This type of analysis works well for those nutrients that are absolutely essential but will not help us identify the vast sea of dietary components that may enhance our health in more subtle ways.

My primary aim is to study evolution as a guide to nutritional needs. As such, I have focused my dissertation and postdoctoral work on milk and milk production because milk is the sole source of nutrients for mammalian young and its recipe has been honed by millions of years of evolution.