Nicole Soltis (President):       Twitter     Instagram


I am a PhD student in the lab of Dr. Daniel Kliebenstein in Plant Sciences. My research addresses the genetics and evolution of crop plant defenses against a common fungal pathogen, Botrytis cinerea. Previously, I completed an MS at Tufts University in biology, where I focused on plant-herbivore interactions and conservation ecology. I hope to develop my skills in science communication through Science Says, and explore issues of sustainability in food systems.




Isaiah Lee Mohr (Treasurer):

_DSC9121I have a BS in Botany, and a certificate in Biotechnology in Stem Cell Biology from CSULB. I love tardigrades, and DNA damage repair.







Destiny Davis (Membership Co-chair):


I am a PhD student in plant biology studying with Dr. Georgia Drakakaki. My project explores how plant cells build new cell walls as they divide. I use chemicals to dissect how cell wall sugars are deposited in the division zone and to discover proteins needed for proper cell wall construction. While I am driven to conduct research to further agricultural and alternative fuel technologies, my passion lies in teaching. I am committed to engaging the public in the scientific sphere by telling as many people as will listen why plant life is so fascinating and why they should care.



Kellee Britt (Membership Co-chair):

_DSC9120I was born and raised in South Florida, and attended the University of Florida for undergrad.  I currently focus on postharvest pathology and food safety for my graduate work in Plant Pathology.







Debbie Fetter (Social Media Co-chair):      Twitter    

_DSC9098I am a Doctoral Candidate in the Graduate Group in Nutritional Biology. I work in the Zidenberg-Cherr research group where my research focuses on how to use technology in school-based, nutrition programs to generate interest towards nutrition and physical activity.

I enjoy writing and aspire to use my writing to help bridge the gap between the science community and the general public. Hearing misconceptions about nutrition motivated me to create my own blog and Instagram to discuss current nutrition trends and research.

I also hold a BS in Nutrition Science from UC Davis. In the midst of graduate school life, I find time to run and take group exercise classes. I am an advocate for “variety in moderation” and believe that in a healthy diet there’s always room for a piece of cheese.


Sam Tucci (Social Media Co-chair):      Twitter

_DSC9104I am a doctoral candidate in Biomedical Engineering in Dr. Katherine Ferrara’s laboratory. My lab focuses on image-guided drug delivery. I spend my days building nanoparticles loaded with chemotherapy. I will use them in combination with non-invasive ultrasound surgery as an aggressive treatment for pancreatic cancer.

I am from Cincinnati, Ohio and I went to undergraduate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. I love communicating science and hope to use it to effect positive change in medical research policies. Outside of science, I love getting outside and hiking with my dog (check out his Instagram!).


Eric Walters (Social Media Co-chair):      Twitter

_DSC9111I’m a doctoral candidate in the Microbiology Graduate Group at Davis. By day I study the cool, but very diarrhea-causing, parasite Giardia in the Dawson lab. By night (ok, day too sometimes), I tweet from @SciSays and stay abreast of science communication and science policy issues.



Additional members

Brittany Anderton (Project: Communication Training):

britt-anderton_101614_eroche_009Former cancer biologist. I left the bench to study how undergraduate students develop their understanding of science, particularly biotechnology, as a postdoctoral fellow in Pamela Ronald’s lab at UC Davis. I am interested in helping all students (STEM and non-STEM alike) develop science literacy. Working with others at UCD to change how science is taught at the institutional level.

I am also interested in science transparency and reform. I ultimately seek to improve the intersection of science and society by educating the next generation of responsible scientists and citizens.


Gena E. Hoffman:         Twitter
I am a Plant Biology GraduateScience Says (9 of 14).jpg Student in the Ronald Lab. I earned my B.A. in Integrative Biology at UC Berkeley in 2010. My undergraduate research was conducted in the lab of Dr. Peggy Lemaux, where I worked towards increasing the digestibility of sorghum by overexpressing the key redox protein, Thioredoxin. My current project focuses on immune responses in rice as a model system for cereal crops. The ultimate goal of my graduate research is to aid in the development of new strategies for engineering pathogen resistance in cereal crops. Personally, I am motivated to break the cycle of malnutrition and disease in developing countries by increasing access to proper nutrition, through plant breeding. Additionally, I work to increase public understanding of new agricultural technologies. I value communicating science to the general public- especially on issues of crop genetic technologies and agriculture. Thus I am excited to take part in launching Science Says at UC Davis.

Alice Martinic:              Twitter

I’m a PhD student in the Slupsky Lab in the Nutritional Biology graduate group. We focus on personalized nutrition by combining metabolomics and the microbiome to monitor systemic responses to functional foods. I’m fascinated by how drastically
metabolism differs between people. In the photo, I’m holding a plasticized human digestive tract, which was a highlight at a recent conference! I’m also passionate about education- I love teaching undergraduate labs as well as engaging with the public about nutrition topics.

Don Gibson:
science-says-2-of-14I am a PhD student in Integrative Genetics and Genomics researching fundamental genetic regulation of root development with Dr. Siobhan Brady. I have been a member of the UC Davis community for 10 years where I found my passion for studying the ways researchers can improve plants and how the response to their stresses. Outside of the lab I enjoy communicating science to the public and connecting researchers with policy makers in Sacramento so both sides can make better science and better science based policies.


Nichole Holm:

Science Says (10 of 14).jpgI am a PhD student in the Integrative Genetics and Genomics group. My work is in the Hagerman lab, where I am investigating clinically relevant epigenetic and cellular markers of Fragile X Syndrome (FXS) and Fragile X Tremor and Ataxia Syndrome (FXTAS). I am fascinated by the dynamics of epigenetics to regulate gene-environment interactions as well as the potential precision medicine applications of this process. I am most passionate about making science digestible and implementing scientific discoveries in real world/clinical settings.

George Ugartemendia (Project: Science Really Says Blog Series):

impromptuI am a graduate student working towards a Master of Public Health degree here in Davis. I earned Bachelor degrees in History and Biology from the University of Florida. My current interests include pollution control, environmental protection, and improving health in our communities, all of which require us to reach out to our neighbors to discuss scientific policies and principles.



Taylor Reiter (Project: Science Really Says Blog Series):

I am a PhD student in Food Science the labs of Drs. Selina Wang and Titus Brown.

Science Says and the Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy:

Science Says is a project of the UC Davis Institute for Food and Agricultural Literacy (IFAL). IFAL was established in 2014 by IFAL governance group members Peggy Lemaux, Kent Bradford and Pam Ronald. In January 2015, IFAL welcomed Shannon Albers (MS, Horticulture & Agronomy) as the IFAL Program, Educational and Outreach Coordinator. Professor Pamela Ronald serves as the Faculty Director for IFAL.

Governance Group:

The Governance Board is composed of UC faculty and will serve as a guiding committee to oversee IFAL program development and activities in accordance with all UC policies and the UC Davis Principles of Community. The Governance Board also consists of members from the public and private sector who have professional expertise in food and agriculture, in addition to an interest communicating science to the public.


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