David A. Mills

Affiliation: Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science, Department of Food Science and Technology, University of California, Davis


David Mills is a Professor in the Department of Food Science & Technology at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Mills studies the molecular biology and ecology of bacteria that play an active role in gut health or fermented foods and beverages. In the last 20 years Dr. Mills has mentored over 30 graduate students and postdocs and published more than 150 papers, including seminal work on lactic acid bacterial and bifidobacterial genomics. At UC Davis, Dr. Mills has worked to define, investigate and translate the beneficial aspects of human milk and its role in human health. Dr. Mills has previously served as a Distinguished Lecturer for the American Society for Microbiology and currently serves as an editor for the journals Frontiers in Microbiology and mSystems.  In 2010 Dr. Mills was awarded the Cargill Flavor Systems Specialties Award from the American Dairy Science Association.  In 2012 he was named the Peter J. Shields Chair in Dairy Food Science and in 2015 he was elected a Fellow in the American Academy of Microbiology.   Dr. Mills also serves on the Science/Research Advisory Boards of several food and health-focused companies and his research has helped launch two start up companies.

Academic Rank

Full Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, 2012-present
Full Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 2008-present
Associate Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 2004-2008.
Assistant Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 1998-2004


1985 Bachelor of Science - Biochemistry University of Wisconsin-Madison.
1992 Masters in Science - Biochemistry University of Minnesota
1995 Doctor of Philosophy - Microbiology University of Minnesota:

Academic Specialty

Intestinal Microbiology, Microbial Genomics, Probiotics and Prebiotics, Microbiology of Food and Beverage Fermentations, Food Microbiology, Gene Expression and Modification, Glycobiology.


Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology, 2015
Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science 2012-present
Cargill Flavor Systems Award, American Dairy Science Association 2010
Lecturer, Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology (2003-2005)



Meeting Presentations


  • Walker, G. A., A. Hjelmeland, N. A. Bokulich, D. A. Mills1, S. E. Ebeler and L. F. Bisson. 2016.  Impact of the [GAR+] prion on fermentation progression and bacterial population composition with Saccharomyces cerevisiae strain UCD932.  American Journal of Enology and Viticulture. (In Press).
  • Charbonneau, M. R.,  D. O’Donnell, L. V. Blanton, S. M. Totten, J. Davis, M. J. Barratt, J. Cheng, J. Guruge, M. Talcott, J. R. Bain, M. J. Muehlbauer, O. Ilkayeva, C. Wu, T. Struckmeyer, D. Barile, K. Maleta, K. Dewey, P. Ashorn, C. B. Newgard, C. Lebrilla, D. A. Mills, J. I. Gordon. 2016. Sialylated milk oligosaccharides promote growth in gnotobiotic mice and piglets harboring a stunted Malawian infant gut microbiota. Cell 164: 1–13.
  • Chao Z., Y. Wu, H. Yu, I. M. Shah, Y. Li, J. Zeng, B. Liu, D. A. Mills and X. Chen.  2016. One-pot multienzyme (OPME) synthesis of human blood group H antigens and a human milk oligosaccharide (HMOS) with highly active Thermosynechococcus elongatus α1–2-fucosyltransferase. Chemical Communications (In Press).
  • Lewis, Z. T., J. Davis, J. T. Smilowitz, J B. German, C. B Lebrilla, D. A Mills. 2016.  The impact of freeze-drying infant fecal samples on measures of their bacterial community profiles and milk-derived oligosaccharide content. PeerJ  (In Press).
  • Lewis, Z. T., G. Shani, C. Masarweh, M. Popovic, S. A. Frese, D. A. Sela, M. A. Underwood and D. A. Mills. 2015. Validating bifidobacterial species and subspecies identity in commercial probiotic products.  Pediatrics Research (In Press).
  • Bokulich, N. A., Z. T. Lewis, K. L Boundy-Mills, D. A. Mills.  2016.  A new perspective on microbial landscapes within food production. Current Opinion in Biotechnology. 37:182–189.
  • Sohn, K. K. Kalanetra, D. A. Mills and M. A. Underwood. 2016. Buccal administration of human colostrum: impact on the oral microbiota of premature infants. Journal of Perinatology 36:106–111.
  • Garcia-Mazcorro​, J. F., I. Ivanov, D. A. Mills, G. Noratto​.  Influence of whole-wheat consumption on fecal microbial community structure of obese diabetic mice. PeerJ 4:e1702; DOI 10.7717/peerj.1702.
  • Hutkins, R., J. Krumbeck, L. B Bindels, P. Cani, G. Fahey, Jr, Y, Goh, B. Hamaker, E. Martens, D. A. Mills, R. Rastal, E. Vaughan.  2016.  Prebiotics: why definitions matter.   Current Opinion in Biotechnology 37:1-7.
  • Dallas, D. C., F. Citerne, T. Tian, V. L. M.  Silva, K. M. Kalanetra, S. A. Frese, R. C. Robinson, D. A. Mills and D. Barile.  2016. Peptidomic analysis reveals proteolytic activity of kefir microorganisms on bovine milk proteins.  Food Chemistry 197: 273–284.