Dave Dallas Heads for Future Success at Oregon State University

David Dallas

An outstanding scholar and valuable member of the Foods for Health Institute team, David Dallas has accepted a position as Assistant Professor in the College of Public Health and Human Sciences at Oregon State University in Corvallis, OR.

In 2014 Dallas was awarded a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Career Award from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver Institute of Child
 Health & Development of the National Institutes of Health. The award provides for five years of support as Dallas transitions from postdoctoral fellow at the Foods for Health Institute to Assistant Professor at Oregon State University where he will begin a faculty career with an emphasis on research of human milk proteins and digestion.

Dallas graduated with a B.A. in Health Sciences from Rice University and completed his Ph.D. in Nutritional Biology at UC Davis under the mentorship of the Foods for Health Institute faculty Drs. Bruce German, Carlito Lebrilla, and Mark Underwood. Dallas’ dissertation “Digestomics of Human Milk: Towards Improved Feeding of Premature Infants” examined how milk proteins are digested both within the mammary gland and the infant gut. In 2012 Dallas transitioned to a postdoctoral fellowship funded by the USDA Agriculture and Food Research Institute in the UC Davis Department of Food Science & Technology and the Foods for Health Institute.

In his new position at Oregon State, Dallas will continue his research on milk protein digestion and infants and the topic of in vivo milk peptidomics. Dallas explains that he chose to research milk because it represents a food uniquely evolved to nourish the offspring.

Dallas intends to continue his work helping premature infants. Dallas gears his hypothesis towards observing the relationship between the infant’s gut and milk protein digestion. His findings showed that the milk enzymes from the mother’s mammary gland remain active within the infant’s gut, allowing for digestion. This fascinating finding raises new questions regarding infant protein digestion and how it can impact the future nourishment of premature infants.

Dallas interests have now expanded to other target groups that typically have poorer digestive functions, including the elderly and those with gastrointestinal problems. Dallas aims to measure the effect of incomplete protein digestion in these groups on the microbiota, microbial metabolism and inflammation in the gut. He will explore the abilities of proteases combined with specific foods to assist digestion function in those target populations.

The Foods for Health Institute wishes Dallas success in his new position at Oregon State University, where he will continue his important research, mentor students, and contribute to science benefiting infants and those with digestive dysfunction.