Consortium Management

The IMGC is managed through the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF), a nonprofit organization based in Davis, CA. The consortium’s focus and direction are designed and implemented by the Director of Scientific and Strategic Development, Dr. Jennifer Smilowitz, together with the Steering and Scientific Advisory Committees

Director of Scientific and Strategic Development
Jennifer Smilowitz, Ph.D.
Associate Director, Foods for Health Institute
Faculty Affiliate, Department of Food Science & Technology
University of California Davis, Davis, CA
Phone: (310) 403-4483

Dr. Smilowitz became the IMGC’s Director of Scientific and Strategic Development in April 2019. She attended the first IMGC Symposium in Napa California as a graduate student and attended IMGC Symposia as an attendee or speaker in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2018. She has engaged in active collaborations with IMGC scientists and demonstrated clinical safety and efficacy for several new products either in or on their way to the marketplace.  Dr. Smilowitz is a faculty affiliate in the Department of Food Science and Technology and Associate Director of the Human Studies Research Program for the Foods for Health Institute at the University of California Davis. She holds a doctoral degree in Nutritional Biology with an emphasis in Endocrinology and completed her postdoctoral fellowship in Food Science from the University of California Davis. She has a well-established career in lactation and milk science, particularly human milk and clinical nutrition.  Dr. Smilowitz has spent much of her career investigating the effects of dairy consumption on many aspects of human health. Her approach to solving complex problems relies on implementing cross-disciplinary and multi-collaborative methods. She has published more than 50 scientific articles in peer-reviewed journals on lactation, milk and dairy science, and the intestinal microbiome across all life stages. She was instrumental in the clinical and regulatory dossier development of B. infantis bacterium in breastfed infants. She is a fellow of the University of California Davis School of Management which was instrumental in shifting her research toward translation to make a greater impact on human health. As a Certified Lactation Educator, Dr. Smilowitz supports breastfeeding and researches dietary solutions that support the health of the mother-infant dyad. She regularly gives lectures on the benefits of breastfeeding and its impact on the infant gut microbiome to health-care practitioners across northern Californian hospitals, clinics and Women Infants and Children (WIC) staff. In 2009, Dr. Smilowitz developed the Foods for Health Mentorship Program at University of California Davis. and has mentored over 100 undergraduate students majoring in Nutrition and Food Science. Dr. Smilowitz is an invited guest lecturer for various undergraduate and graduate-level courses in lactation, microbiology, infant-maternal nutrition, nutrition and food science at University of California Davis. Her bibliography is publicly available here.

Symposium Coordinator
Laurie Jacobson
Phone: (805) 235-1023

Laurie Jacobson joined the IMGC in 2010. She has a B.S. in Food Science from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. After graduation she worked briefly at ADM in Quality Control and at Danisco in the applications department. In 1996 she began working as a research assistant in Cal Poly’s Dairy Products Technology Center (DPTC) and coordinated their outreach program. She was on campus until 2006 and then moved to Kansas City where she continued on with the DPTC until March of 2016.

Executive Director
Denise Mullinax
Phone: (530) 753-0681

Mullinax is executive director of the California Dairy Research Foundation (CDRF), an independent non-profit foundation with a mission to lead and deliver the best research and science-based programs in support of the California dairy industry. She is a graduate of the University of California, Davis with an undergraduate degree in animal science and a Master’s in agriculture and management. She has mover 20 years of experience working with the California dairy sector, holding key education, research, and sustainability management positions within UC Cooperative Extension and Hilmar Cheese Company. Concurrent with her duties at CDRF, she also serves as the assistant director of the California Dairy Quality Assurance Program (CDQAP), a position she has held for the past 13 years.

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