Dr. David A. Mills

Dr. David Mills portrait

Position Title

Food Science & Technology

3142 North Robert Mondavi Institute
  • Department of Food Science and Technology (90%)
  • Department of Viticulture and Enology (10%)

David Mills is a Professor and the Peter J. Shields Endowed Chair in the Departments of Food Science & Technology at the University of California at Davis. Dr. Mills studies the 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 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.

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 (then) 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

  • 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
  • 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,