Keynote and Invited Speakers 2020

17th International Symposium on Milk Science and Health

IMGC VIRTUAL Symposium 2020

University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA

October 13 – 16, 2020

Nurit Argov-Argaman, PhD
Senior lecturer
Department of Animal Sciences
Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and Environment
Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Dr. Argov-Argaman’s training is in Animal Science with an emphasis in lipid metabolism and animal nutrition. Since completing her post-doctoral training, her research program has focused on lactation physiology and its metabolic regulation. Specifically, her research involves discovering the nutritional and metabolic regulation of milk fat composition, concentration and structure of the milk fat globule. Over the years, she has studied the role of the mitochondria in regulating the milk fat globule structure and hence the composition of milk fat. Accordingly, mitochondria and their susceptibility to biotic and abiotic stressors have become a major focus of her research to understand the regulation of milk fat structure, and the effect on overall lactation and production in dairy animals. The models used in her lab are both in vitro cell and tissue cultures, and in vivo murine and ruminant models. In addition, she studies the effect of biotic and abiotic stressors on milk composition and develops nutritional solutions to mitigate the stressors’ effects on production. Together, these models are used to understand how milk composition and structure are determined and which of the underlying mechanisms can be employed to improve lactation efficiency and milk composition in terms of human health. More information about Dr. Argov-Argaman’s research program can be found here.

Meghan Azad, PhD
Associate Professor
Pediatrics and Child Health
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, Manitoba Canada

Dr. Meghan Azad is an Associate Professor of Pediatrics and Child Health at the University of Manitoba and a Research Scientist at the Children’s Hospital Research Institute of Manitoba. She holds a Canada Research Chair in Developmental Origins of Chronic Disease and co-Directs the new Manitoba Interdisciplinary Lactation Centre (MILC, Her research program ( is focused on the role of infant nutrition and the microbiome in child growth, development and resilience. Dr. Azad is directing the new International Milk Composition Consortium that will comprehensively profile human milk from women in diverse low- and middle-income settings, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She also co-leads the Manitoba site of the CHILD Cohort Study (, a national pregnancy cohort following 3500 children to understand how early life experiences shape lifelong health to promote or protect against asthma, allergies and obesity. Dr. Azad directs multiple projects related to infant feeding practices, human milk composition and the microbiome in the CHILD cohort and other populations, including preterm neonates receiving donor milk, and Bangladeshi infants at risk of malnutrition. She also leads collaborative projects examining perceptions of breastfeeding on social media and developing methods to improve societal support for breastfeeding through school-based education programs. Dr. Azad received the 2018 International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) Ehrlich-Koldovsky Award. She serves on the ISRHML Executive Council, the Breastfeeding Committee of Canada, and the joint US/Canada Human Milk Composition Initiative.

Daniela Barile, PhD
Chancellor’s Fellow
Department of Food Science and Technology
University of California Davis
Davis, CA, USA

Originally from Italy, Dr. Barile joined the Faculty of the Department of Food Science and Technology at the University of California Davis in 2011. Her research program focuses on the chemical and biological properties of milk components to generate novel ingredients that ameliorate human health. She was recently promoted to Full Professor and received the Chancellor’s Fellow Award, given to outstanding faculty members producing groundbreaking research and scholarship early in their careers. Her capacity to translate basic research findings to actual practical value is of significant relevance, thanks to a network of over 20 food industries that routinely collaborate with her lab. The highly collaborative aspect of her research is evidenced by the publication of over 100 manuscripts in leading peer-reviewed food science journals and specialized books, which have already been cited over 3400 times. Dr. Barile is also a co-founder of Evolve Biosystems Inc., a startup dedicated to developing the next generation of products to restore a healthy gut microbiome in newborns. More information about Dr. Barile’s research program and current projects can be found here.

Benjamin Boyd, PhD
Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University
Victoria, Australia

Dr. Boyd is a colloid and physical chemist with a PhD from the University of Melbourne (1999). After industry experience in the explosives and pharmaceutical industries, he commenced an academic position at Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences (MIPS). His research group focusses on colloidal and structural aspects of lipids, lipid self-assembly and pharmaceutical systems, focused on controlling materials at the colloidal scale for delivery in pharma and other fields. His group is also active in developing new synchrotron X-ray-based characterization approaches for lipid and solid state systems. His group has published over 250 research papers receiving over 10,000 citations. He is an elected Fellow of the Controlled Release Society (CRS), he was the recipient of the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists 2011 Lipid-based Drug Delivery Award Outstanding Research Award. He is a past Secretary of the CRS and Past President of the Australian Chapter of the CRS. He is currently President of the Australian Colloid and Interface Society. He serves on the editorial boards of several journals including Co-editor of the Journal of Colloid and Interface Science and Editor for Asia for Drug Delivery and Translational Research. More information about Dr. Boyd’s research program can be found here.

Victor E. Cabrera, PhD
Department of Dairy Science
University of Wisconsin-Madison, WI, USA

Dr. Victor E. Cabrera is a professor and extension specialist in dairy management at the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dairy Science Department. Dr. Cabrera combines applied research, interdisciplinary approaches, and participatory methods to deliver practical, user-friendly, and scholarly decision support tools for dairy farm management. These scientific tools are aimed to improve dairy farm profitability, environmental stewardship, and long-term sustainability of the dairy farm industry. During his career, Dr. Cabrera has developed more than 40 decision support tools, published >70 refereed articles, and 9 book chapters, presented in more than 100 scientific sessions, and given talks in more than 400 extension meetings in Wisconsin, other States, and several other countries. Dr. Cabrera’s work in the past 12 years has been pivotal to attract more than $5.0 million to support his research and extension initiatives. Dr. Cabrera has been distinguished with the American Dairy Science Association. DeLaval Dairy Extension Award, University of Wisconsin-Madison Vilas Faculty Mid-Career Investigator Award, Second Mile Extension award of the Wisconsin Association of County Agricultural Agents, the Pound Extension Award, the Alfred Toepfer Faculty Fellow Award from the University of Wisconsin College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, the Distinguished Achievement Award from the University of Florida School of Natural Resources and Environment, and the Foundation Scholar Award in Dairy Production from the American Dairy Science Association. More information about Dr. Cabrera’s research program can be found here.

Bethany Henrick, PhD
Director of Immunology and Diagnostics
Evolve BioSystems Inc.
Davis, CA, USA
Adjunct Assistant Professor
University of Nebraska Lincoln
Lincoln, NE, USA

Dr. Bethany Henrick is Director of Immunology and Diagnostics at Evolve Biosystems and she also serves as Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Food Science and Technology Department at the University of Nebraska Lincoln. She was trained as an immunologist investigating mother-to-child HIV transmission through breast milk and was the first to characterize innate immune factors in breast milk that inhibit HIV transmission and reduce immunopathogenesis. She also has extensive experience investigating maternal and infant immunity as well as a decade of experience designing, optimizing, and bringing to market rapid point-of-care diagnostics focused on improving the lives of individuals globally.  Her research program is currently investigating the role of microbiome composition on the development of the immune system during infancy. She is also investigating the role of antibiotics on gut microbiome composition to understand the effect on growth of infants in low-income countries, and the therapeutic effect of altering the gut microbiome to improve enteric inflammation and growth of infants suffering from severe acute malnutrition in Dhaka, Bangladesh, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Her current work has culminated into novel insight showing how infants born in developed nations suffer from chronic enteric inflammation that can be significantly decreased with a B. infantis-dominated microbiome. Further, she is currently investigating the impact of a B. infantis-dominated microbiome effect on T cell development during the first 100 days of life, which should provide critical insight into immune system development, vaccine efficacy, and prevention of autoimmune and allergic diseases. Her bibliography is publicly available here.

Katie Hinde, PhD
Associate Professor
Center for Evolution and Medicine
School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Arizona State University
Tempe, AZ, USA

Dr. Hinde is an Associate Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change, Center for Evolution and Medicine, at Arizona State University. As Director of the MILK Lab (Mothers, Infants, and Lactation Knowledge Lab), she investigates the evolutionary ecology and behavioral biology of mother’s milk and infant development in humans and other mammalian species. Hinde earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from UCLA in 2008 and from 2009-2011, she trained as a post-doc in neuroscience at the California National Primate Research Center, UC Davis. She began her faculty career as an Assistant Professor in the Human Evolutionary Biology Department at Harvard University 2011-2015. In addition to dozens of scholarly publications, Hinde co-edited “Building Babies” released by Springer in 2013 and directs a summer study abroad on Community Health and Ecosystem Sustainability in Australia. Professor Hinde thinks that we most effectively tackle 21st Century challenges to human health at the intersection of the life sciences and the social sciences. She has received numerous awards including the Ehrlich-Koldovsky Early Career Award from the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation, the Early Career Award from the American Society of Primatologists, and the New Directions Award in Public Anthropology from the General Anthropology Division, American Anthropological Association. Hinde’s 2016 TED talk “What We Don’t Know About Mother’s Milk” has been viewed over 1.4 million times and she was a featured scientist on the 2020 Netflix Series “Babies and “Unwell. She showcases research on mother’s milk, breastfeeding, and lactation for the general public, clinicians, and researchers at her blog “Mammals Suck… Milk!”. More information about Dr. Hinde’s research program can be found here.

Belinda van’t Land, PhD
Senior Scientist Immunology
Danone Nutricia Research BV
Assistant Professor
Center for Translational Immunology
University Medical Center Utrecht
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Dr. Belinda van’t Land received her PhD in Medical Biology at the Radboud University in Nijmegen, The Netherlands. She has a strong background in mucosal immunological research with a significant contribution to the impact of early life nutrition on immune development. Currently she is Senior scientist Immunology at Danone Nutricia Research Global center of Immunology, as well as Assistant Professor at the Center for Translational Immunology, University Medical Center Utrecht. She is leading a group of cross-functional scientists and clinicians, providing insights into several factors within Human Milk with the capacity to modulate the impact of infectious diseases as well as to prevent allergic and metabolic disease development. Dr. van’t Land is the author and co-author of around 50 scientific publications, reviews and book chapters and (co) inventor of several patents. Her research focused on the interplay between environmental factors, including nutrition on the immunological development of infants. Within this research she is starting to unravel the immune modulating capacity of the diverse mixture of Human milk oligosaccharides. The combination of a human milk cohort, the expansion of mechanistical understanding, supported with in vivo translational experimentation, and several (inter) national collaborations, places all tools and expertise in hand to identify new components involved in the host microbe interplay early in life. It is their mission to explore and implement nutritional interventions for infants and children to optimize immune development, host microbe interaction, which will ultimately lead to improved immune tolerance. Her bibliography is publicly available here.

Carlito Lebrilla, PhD
Distinguished Professor
Department of Chemistry
University of California Davis
Davis, CA, USA

Dr. Carlito B. Lebrilla is a Distinguished Professor at the University of California, Davis in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine in the School of Medicine. His research is focused on the development of bioanalytical tools including mass spectrometry to discover disease biomarkers for early diagnosis of cancer and autoimmune diseases using blood biopsies. His group also has a major effort in discovering and developing bioactive foods. The research has resulted in nearly 400 publications (H-index 85) in specialized journals and general-topics science journals including Science, Nature, and Cell. His work has been funded by federal grants, industrial partners, and non-governmental organizations. It has also been translated into over a dozen patents. He is a co-founder of several start-up companies, most notably Evolve Biosystems Inc., which is the first company to sell probiotics specifically for breastfed infants. He received several notable awards including the UC Davis Distinguished Researcher Award. He received his BS degree from the University of California, Irvine and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley. He was an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow and a NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Fellow at the Technical University in Berlin. He returned to the UC as a President’s Fellow and has been at UC Davis since he was an assistant professor.  He has served as Chair of the Chemistry Department where he teaches General Chemistry, Advanced Analytical Chemistry, and Special Topics in Mass Spectrometry. He is also co-editor of Mass Spectrometry Reviews and has been on the editorial board of Molecular and Cellular Proteomics, Mass Spectrometry Reviews, Journal of American Society for Mass Spectrometry, European Mass Spectrometry, and International Journal of Mass Spectrometry. More information about Dr. Lebrilla’s research program can be found here.

Danielle G. Lemay, PhD
Research Scientist, USDA Western Human Nutrition Research Center
Associate Adjunct Professor, Department of Nutrition
Faculty, Genome Center
University of California Davis, Davis, CA, USA

Dr. Danielle Lemay joined the IMGC Scientific Advisory Committee in 2007. She is also the Founder and Executive Editor of SPLASH! milk science update, the official publication of the IMGC for which she has selected and reviewed over 350 lay articles on milk science. Dr. Lemay is a Research Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Western Human Nutrition Research Center in Davis, California. She is also an Associate Adjunct Professor with the Department of Nutrition and faculty member of the Genome Center at University of California-Davis. Dr. Lemay’s research program was previously focused on the genetics of milk production, mammary biology, and milk-oriented microbes.  In her lab at the USDA, she is studying the effect of diet on gut microbes and gastrointestinal health. She applies big data techniques, such as sequencing analysis and machine learning, to understand the effects of diet on human health. She has a PhD and MS in Nutritional Biology from UC Davis, and a BS in Electrical Engineering & Computer Science from MIT. Her bibliography is publicly available here.

David A. Mills, PhD
Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in Dairy Food Science
Department of Food Science and Technology
Department of Viticulture and Enology
University of California Davis
Davis, CA, USA

Dr. Mills is a Professor in the Departments of Food Science & Technology and Viticulture & Enology 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 generating more than 200 publications, 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 on the editorial board of Applied and Environmental Microbiology. 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. In 2018 and 2019 he was named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics Web of Science. Dr. Mills has served on the Advisory Boards of several food and health-focused companies and his research has helped launch several startup companies. More information about Dr. Mills’ research program can be found here.

Kevin Nicholas, PhD
Adjunct Professor
Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences
Monash University, Victoria
Professorial Fellow (hon) in the School of Biosciences
University of Melbourne, Melbourne

Dr. Nicholas completed a BScHons and PhD degree in the Biochemistry Department at the University of Western Australia. He subsequently moved to the National Institutes of Health in the USA for 6 years and then returned to Australia to take up positions in CSIRO, government research institutes and universities.  He has published extensively in the field of mammary gland biology and milk bioactivity and has attracted research funds from industry, the Gates Foundation and other agencies. Dr. Nicholas is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Monash Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Monash University and a Professorial Fellow (hon) in the School of Biosciences, University of Melbourne. Dr. Nicholas’ interests focus on exploiting an understanding of the evolution of lactation to better identify the function and delivery of milk bioactives that have the potential to signal organ development in the neonate. He has established research platforms of comparative genomics and bioinformatics in mammary gland biology that includes the largest genomics-based lactation database in the world. This database has been central in exploiting a range of species to identify signaling molecules in human colostrum and milk that direct the development of gut and lung, and potentially the brain in the neonate. These studies are providing the basis for formulating the next generation of human milk fortifiers that have potential for improved health outcomes of significantly preterm and low birth weight babies, in both the developing and developed world. More information about Dr. Nicholas’ research program can be found here.

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