Dr. David A. Mills

David Mills

Position Title
Distinguished Professor

  • Food Science & Technology
3142 North Robert Mondavi Institute
  • Department of Food Science and Technology

David A. Mills is a Distinguished 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. In the last 25 years Dr. Mills has mentored over 32 graduate students and postdocs generating more than 225 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 the International Journal of Food 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.  Since 2018 he has been named a Highly Cited Researcher by Clarivate Analytics.  Dr. Mills’s research has helped launch several startup companies.

Dr. Mills obtained a Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he worked for Dr. John Markley.   In 1991, he obtained a Masters degree in Biochemistry with Dr. Michael Flickinger at University of Minnesota, followed by a PhD in 1995 working with Dr. Gary Dunny and Dr. Larry McKay. After postdoctoral studies at North Carolina State University with Dr. Todd Klaenhammer, Dr. Mills took a faculty position at UC Davis.

Academic Rank

  • Distinguished Professor, Departments of Food Science & Technology, 2022-present.
  • Full Professor, Department of Food Science and Technology, UC Davis, 2012-present.
  • Full Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 2008-2023.
  • Associate Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 2004-2008
  • Assistant Professor, Department of Viticulture and Enology, UC Davis, 1998-2004
  • Distribution of time:  60% Research 40% Teaching.


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

Academic Specialty

Intestinal Microbiology, Prebiotics, Probiotics, Food Microbiology, Microbial Genomics, Metagenomics, Microbial Ecology, Genetics of Lactic Acid Bacteria,


  • Distinguished Graduate and Postdoctoral Mentorship Award, 2024
  • Distinguished Professor, 2022-present
  • ISI Highly Cited Researcher, Clarivate Analytics, 2018-present
  • UC Davis Chancellor’s Innovation Awards, 2020 (Team award)
  • Etchell’s Memorial Lecturer, North Carolina State University, 2017
  • Division Group III Lecturer, Annual Meeting American Society for Microbiology, 2016
  • Fellow, American Academy of Microbiology (2015-present)
  • Deans' Team Award for Excellence in Research – UCDMC 2014 (Team award)
  • Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair of Dairy Food Science (2012-present)
  • Best Paper Awardee, American Society for Enology and Viticulture, 2012
  • Cargill Flavor Systems Award, American Dairy Science Association (2010)
  • Lecturer, Waksman Foundation for Microbiology, American Society for Microbiology (2003-2005)

Entrepreneurial Activity