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Affiliates have realized that CIFAR is a unique organization that yields high value returns on membership investment. By understanding the needs of both the business community and researchers, CIFAR offers specialized connectivity of its members' specific interests through a network of relevant individuals and programs.

Administrative Unit

Sharon Shoemaker
Executive Director

Sharon Shoemaker, PhD, joined UC Davis in 1991 as founder and director of the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR), where she brings together a wide variety of organizations and individuals, forming collaborations and project teams to conduct applied research, and organize conferences to disseminate state-of-the-art knowledge in emerging technology areas.

Since founding CIFAR, she has initiated a number of new activities at UC Davis through guidance of an executive committee and advisory affiliates board. A sampling includes:

  • Multi-investigator research and forums on lignocellulosic conversion since 1991;
  • Dedicating the Herman Phaff Yeast Culture Collection (1996);
  • Establishing and directing the National Science Foundation Industry/University Cooperative Research Center site in Advanced Processing and Packaging at UC Davis (94-’04);
  • Administering the nation-wide testing of technology for more efficient use of water and energy, plus waste reduction, in food processing operations (’92-’02);
  • Constructing a Roadmap for energy efficiency in California’s food processing industry;
  • Creating research directories of UC Davis faculty in Food for Health (editions ‘96, ’98, ’01, ’02) and in Utilization of Agricultural “wastes” (‘01); and
  • A collaborator with the nationally recognized Food Foresight (since 1993).

Shoemaker holds B.S. degree in Chemistry, M.S. degree in Food Science and Ph.D. degree in Biochemistry and Nutrition from Virginia Tech. After doing post-doctoral training in biochemical engineering, she worked for 15 years in the biotechnology industry before joining UC Davis. Her career research focus has been on biomass, especially studying cellulases and their applications; developing enzyme-to-mixed sugar processes and optimizing microbial strains for production of the value-added products, such as lactic acid and ethanol. Her industrial experience led to patents on cellulases, novel yeast strains to convert biomass-to-ethanol and novel bacterial strains to produce new forms of cellulose. She also led team efforts to improve enzyme systems to convert biomass-to-sugars and subsequent fermentation to chemicals, and to characterize and develop ligninase systems for use in the pulp and paper industry.

Shoemaker is a signaturee in the original DOE Biomass Roadmap Compact, a DOE Industries of the Future valued partner in Agriculture, and invited lecturer at the Marcus Wallenburg Prize (Sweden, 1985). She has been a long-time contributor to strategic plans, technical programs and organizing committees for DOE, USDA, and American Chemical Society. She currently serves as a reviewer for the Department of Energy’s National Stage Gate Biomass Program. At the state and regional level, she is a member of the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research projects that developed ethanol processes using wood and rice straw feedstocks. Sharon served on the Yolo County Ethanol Task force, developed an ethanol marketing report and has authored many papers and patents. At the international level, she advises cellulosic bioethanol and bioproducts programs in China, India, Chile, Japan, Germany, Finland, Canada and UK. She serves on the editorial board of the ACS Journals, Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and Biotechnology Progress and is the 2002 recipient of the Charles D. Scott Award for Biotechnology Research Applied to Production of Fuels and Chemicals.

David Reid
Associate Director

David Reid joined the faculty of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis in 1981. Recruited to perform fundamental research into the freezing process, he has developed and maintained strong industry contacts throughout his career at Davis, so it is not surprising that he has been closely associated with CIFAR since its inception.

Reid holds BSc and PhD degrees in Chemistry from the University of Glasgow, with his specialization being in Physical Chemistry. After a 1 year post-doctoral stint at SUNY-Buffalo, he returned to the UK, spending 13 years as a research scientist with Unilever Research. His focus was the physical chemistry of water in food systems, with a particular focus on freezing. On joining UC Davis, he maintained this focus of understanding the physical chemistry of the role of water in foods, looking both at food freezing and clarifying the factors which influence both frozen storage stability and at the effect of water removal in the concentration process. Ever since his time at Unilever, he has been an active participant in the International Symposium on the Properties of Water (ISOPOW), where the role of water in foods and pharmaceuticals is the theme of the discussions.

Reid has for many years received significant research support from industry, and has served for many years on scientific advisory committees for AFFI (American Frozen Food Institute) and GCCA (Global Cold Chain Alliance). He has served as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture since 1999.

A Fellow of IFT, Reid serves as their representative on the board of the National Coalition for Food and Agriculture Research (NCFAR), a coalition that seeks to increase the level of government funding for food and agriculture research. He is also a Fellow of IAFoST (International Academy of Food Science and Technology). In 2007, AFFI presented him with a career leadership award, and he is the 2012 recipient of the Frozen Food Foundation Freezing Research Award.

Throughout his career, Reid has focused on the application of fundamental research to practical situations. He sees the mission of CIFAR as being an essential component of a successful integration of research, know-how and resources. Only by close, committed collaboration of all the players can we reach an effective, sustainable future.

Lei E
Lei E

CIFAR – China


Lei E is an Adviser to CIFAR and Director of CIFAR China. A CIFAR office has been established at CHIC’s global headquarters in Jaiding, China. Mr. E splits his time between China and Davis, CA. He is a joint venture partner with CHIC Group Global in the area crop production and agricultural products promotion and a consultant in International Trade with McWong International. Mr. E is assisting CIFAR to future develop business relationships between U.S. and China in agricultural technologies from concepts to products. He has a B.S. in Biology from Fudan University (Shanghai, China), an M.S. in cotton genetics and breeding, and is a Ph.D. candidate on alfalfa genetics and breeding from New Mexico State University (Las Cruces, NM).

Ricardo Amón
Energy Management Project Leader


Ricardo Amón completed a Bachelors of Science in Community Economic Development and a Master of Science in International Agricultural Economic Development, both from the University of California, Davis. Ricardo was hired by the California Energy Commission in 1988, to lead the state’s Energy in Agriculture Program. This program was designed to advance science, technology and best practices aimed at reducing energy consumption in agricultural production and food processing, as well as to convert biomass to energy. In 2010, Ricardo was hired by the UC Davis California Biomass Collaborative to conduct a statewide food and beverage processing industry residue assessment. In 2011 he joins the California Institute of Food and Agricultural Research (CIFAR), to implement the US Department of Energy’s Industrial Best Practices Program and advance adoption rates among food and beverage industrial facilities. Ricardo is collaborating with senior engineers and food industry managers to develop and implement a Water Energy Nexus Assessment methodology to calculate water energy intensity and to identify water and energy conservation opportunities.

Mike Maulhardt
CIFAR Volunteer Associate

Recently retired after a career in the food processing business in California and Washington State. Managed plant operations in fruit, vegetables, tomato, beverage, and milk processing. Aseptic experience with fruit, tomato, and milk processing. Assignments as Director of Continuous Improvement, Process Reengineering, International Internal Consultant, Distribution Center Management, and Project Engineering Management. Most recently served as technical services manager of a major fruit processing plant with responsibility for electrical systems, control automation, facilities management, energy systems and sustainability.

Now retired and volunteering with CIFAR, California State Parks, California Department of Fish and Game, and the City of Davis Tree Commission.

Ruth Kinsella
Ruth Kinsella
Executive Assistant to Sharon Shoemaker

Ruth Kinsella is assisting with recruiting, communications and interactions in CIFAR's global network. Kinsella provides a wealth of knowledge, experience and style

Department of Food Science & Technology Administrative Support

Internal Advisors

  • Alan Bennett
  • David Block
  • Roger Boulton
  • Dan Flynn
  • Bruce German
  • Andy Hargadon
  • Clare Hasler-Lewis
  • You-Lo Hsieh
  • Bryan Jenkins
  • Carl Keen
  • John Labavitch
  • Maria Marco
  • Mike McCarthy
  • Martina McGloughlin
  • David Mills
  • Jim Murray
  • Zhongli Pan
  • Ray Rodriguez
  • Moshe Rosenberg
  • Jim Seiber
  • Paul Singh
  • Glenn Young
  • Ruihong Zhang
  • ** Ex Officio EC Members--Sharon Shoemaker, Executive Director; David Reid, Associate Director and Professor emeritus, Food Science and Technology; Ricardo Amon, Agriculture and Energy Specialist, Mary Dulany, Dean, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences

External Advisors

  • Allen Bah, Technology Investment
  • Pam Contag, Renewable Technologies
  • Mike Campbell, Agricultural and Food Business
  • Pam Contag, Biologies
  • Henry He, Global Trade
  • Sam Cunningham, Food and Nut Technology
  • Mark Fenn, Strategic and Business Management
  • John Foster, Organic Production and
  • Dee Graham, Food Processing and Preservation
  • Glen Lewis, Energy and Supply Chain Management
  • Mark Linder, Culinary and Agriculture
  • Alex McCalla, Agricultural Economics
  • Pinfan Rao, Global Food
  • Li Ni, Global Studies Program with Fuzhou University
  • Steve Shaffer, Environmental Stewardship
  • Tom Wong, Beverage Processing

Student Interns

  • Daniel Schellenberg
  • Elizabeth Chen
  • Shuaikun (Alice) Tang
  • Hanjiang (Sunnie) Zhu
  • Xueqi (Shirley) Li
  • Elizabeth Chin
  • Yue (Kate) Guan
  • Zhihong (Truzo) Zhuline



To create opportunities for collaboration, multidisciplinary research and technology exchange between UC Davis and the food and agriculture industries.


In collaboration with a breadth of strategic partners in the agri-food industry and academia, CIFAR facilitates research in agri-food technologies and energy resource management that can be effectively transferred and applied to the US food industry for achievement of sustained, global competitiveness.





CIFAR is a California centered, global network and innovation hub focused on agri-food systems technologies and housed within the leading food science program in the United States.

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