Innovation and Commercialization

Translating discoveries to real world value

The themes and projects within the Foods For Health Institute provide a wealth of new knowledge to better understand the agricultural enterprise from food production and food processing all the way to the health safety and delight of individual consumers. We bring the world-leading expertise of UC Davis to all projects creating the inter-disciplinary conditions for discovery and innovation. Success is measured through publications, patents, spin-out companies and industry partners all working to commercialize science. The translation of scientific discovery to real world value is a core principle of FFHI. New ingredients, products and services brought to market to improve the value chain of the agricultural enterprise and change the health of individuals.

To achieve this goal, we use two distinct strategies. Where possible, we work with industrial partners to use their existing infrastructures to transform new discoveries to practice. We work with small and large companies at various stages of research to ensure we are delivering innovation to genuine unmet needs.  Where ideas or concepts are disruptive, we build the business case in house using the business and entrepreneurial expertise in our UC Davis, regional and global network. 

  • Evolve Biosystems Inc is a company founded in 2012 by five FFHI researchers ( The science is based on the discovery of the unique relationship that exists between human milk oligosaccharides and a very unique microorganism that has evolved to protect and guide the vulnerable neonate. Evolve Biosystems is bringing to market the next generation of microorganism-based biotherapeutics to establish, restore, and maintain a healthy human microbiome across a range of unmet clinical needs.
  • MicroTrek was established in 2013 with the goal of providing high quality microbial analysis initially for the food and beverage industry.  The company uses modern molecular biology and high-throughput techniques to comprehensively detect and identify microorganisms in samples and the environment.  Methods utilizing next generation sequencing were developed in the laboratory of Professor David Mills at the University of California at Davis. Samples can be drawn from any part of the process and include swabs of machinery and areas used in production.  When multiple samples are taken over a time course, MicroTrek can track the appearance and movement of specific spoilage or pathogenic microbes throughout the production process and facility.  We provide easy to understand reports that include identification as well as spacial, temporal and quantitative information.
  • Sara Schaefer and team hackathon taken from UC Davis news. “Took that? Eat this.,” the team’s proposal linked patients to their diets, doctors and pharmacies to help them learn what foods to avoid with their medications. The goal was to cut down on adverse reactions from such combinations as Lipitor, a prescription medicine that lowers blood cholesterol, and grapefruit, which when combined with Lipitor increases the likelihood of side effects like liver damage and kidney failure. The proposed app also recommended what foods to include that reduce side effects.

Please contact Bethany Henrick at for more information.