About Us

Executive Director

Alan Bennett, PhD

Distinguished Professor, Executive Director of the Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture, formerly Executive Director of Research Administration and Technology Transfer for the UC System, formerly Associate Vice-Chancellor for Research, UC Davis.

Associate Director

Pablo Zamora, PhD

Ph.D. in Biotechnology from University of Santiago de Chile, Postdoctoral research at UC Davis, presently research director in industry, named one of the 100 most influential young Chileans. Co-founder of The Not Company, institution that received in 2016 the Chilean Innovation's Award, Avonni (food category).

Administration and Finance Manager

María Trinidad Eva, MBA

BS in Business Administration from Universidad Diego Portales (2002) and MBA from Universidad Politecnica de Cataluna/Barcelona (2007), several years at Ministry of Economy where she led the implementation of the information system for resource management linked to the National Innovation System (FIC), since 2013 Administration and Finance Manager in the Chilean business incubator with more trajector where she was responsible for accounting, finance, human resources and logistics.

Partnership and Communications Manager

Francisco Díaz

Degree in Philosophy and Education from Pontifical Salesian University of Rome, postgraduate certificate in Management of Technology and Innovation from Alberto Hurtado University of Santiago, and postgraduate certificate in Licensing Academy in Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer from the School of Law at UC Davis. Francisco was responsible for the development of innovation capabilities in the agricultural sector in the Fundación para la Innovacion Agraria (FIA) from 2010 to 2015. He holds a wide professional network in Chilean universities and in the agri-business sector.

Program and Consulting Development Manager

Mauricio Cañoles, Ph.D. MII

Agronomist from Universidad de Chile, Ph.D. in Horticulture from Michigan State University and Master in Industrial Engineering (MII) Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. Experience in innovation management and science-company relation in the AgriFood sector. Wide knowledge of the public sector as Head of Program and Project Unit in Fundación para la Innovación Agraria, Director of Agrifood and Aquaculture at InnovaChile, CORFO.

Communications Associate

Eliette Angel, M.Sc.

Masters in Science Communication at Imperial College London (UK). A freelancer for eight years of “ Life, Science and Technology” of the newspaper El Mercurio and a professional in the area of communications at CONICYT, in Astronomy at the University of Chile, the  Museo Interactivo Mirador(mim), a center dedicated to agri-food research, in addition to an internship in the London Science Museum. Beneficiary of Becas Chile and former director of the central area of the Chilean Association of Science Journalists (ACHIPEC).

Financial Analyst

Jorge Cabezas, M.Sc.

Agribusiness Engineer with a diploma in Entrepreneurship from the Universidad Central de Chile and a finance master at the Universidad de Chile. Specialized in financial development and control of projects with public resources, such as CORFO and Fondos de Innovación para la Competitividad Regional (FIC-R), as well as extensive knowledge in development of technical and administrative reports, grant guideline creation and its evaluation.

Financial Assistant

Marcela Hidalgo

Technical accountant with experience in staff management; integral accounting and management in Internal Tax Services (SII), banks and clients.

Financial Controller

Viviana Rozas, M.Sc.

Business Administration degree with a Masters in Technological Innovation and Entrepreneurship from Federico Santa María University, in addition to participating in an Immersion program in the Silicon Valley, University of San Francisco (California, USA). Professional with over nine years of experience, five of which were for non-profit companies which work with projects funded by institutions like Corfo and the Multilateral Investment Fund of the Inter-American Development Bank. Vast experience in technical, financial and administrative monitoring of projects, with a focus on achieving results. Knowledge of projects in various topics of science and innovation.

International Institutional Liaison

Paulina Torres, M.Sc. 

Bachelor of Applied Science (B.A.Sc.) degree from Drexel University in Pennsylvania, with a minor in Business and Masters in International Relations (M.I.R) from the Catholic University of Chile. Her work experience combines the Bioscience and IR backgrounds; most recently she worked as the international liaison at Prosana Chile and previously a researcher for Drexel College of Medicine in the Pathology Department.

Project and Consulting Developer

Sebastián Vega

Agronomist Engineer from the Pontificia Universidad Católica of Valparaíso, with experience generating and establishing networks with companies and various institutions. Sebastián was the coordinator of “Sustainable Fruticulture Node of the V Region” –that seeks to insert high value and environmentally friendly products in international and national markets- and of a public-private project that involved fruit entrepreneurs of the “Valparaiso Region”.

Project and Consulting Developer

Victor González

Industrial Engineer from the Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile with more than 10 years of experience in projects and in management control. He has worked and developed various initiatives for public, private and higher education, mainly in the areas of innovation and information technologies (ICT). Between 2008 and 2011 Victor was an adviser of Sector Programs in Corfo’s InnovaChile.

Receptionist Assistant

Rocío Cousiño

Bilingual Executive Assistant from Mapower CFT with more than eight years of experience as receptionist and administrative secretary and manager assistant in companies as Deloitte, Grafton Recuitment and Fast Factoring (Hites group).

Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer Coordinator

Daniela Sandoval, Ph.D.

Engineer in Molecular Biotechnology with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, both from the University of Chile. Former Fulbright scholar and alumni of the Licensing Academy in Intellectual Property and Technology Transfer from UC Davis School of Law the and Public Intellectual Property Resource for Agriculture (PIPRA)

Besides her work in UC Davis Chile, Daniela is as a patent examiner in the National Industrial Property Institute of Chile (INAPI), and has wide experience in IP management, entrepreneurship, and validation of bioproducts.

Chief Science & Business Officer, Davis Programs

Mónica Alandete, Ph.D.

Biochemistry specialist in plant biotechnology and molecular genetics of plants. Monica completed two postdoctoral positions at UC Berkeley and UC Davis, and published her research in journals such as Science and Development. Currently, Monica is the Director of Analyses and Outreach of UC Davis PIPRA, where she manages and implements a platform that supports activity training programs on intellectual property and technology transfer, aimed at research institutions in emerging economies. She also organizes international courses "Licensing Academy" at UC Davis and Mexico. Monica is also a registered Patent Agent able to practice in the Patent Office of the US.  

Chief Science Officer

Pablo Zamora, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Biotechnology from University of Santiago de Chile, Postdoctoral research at UC Davis, presently research director in industry, named one of the 100 most influential young Chileans. Co-founder of The Not Company, institution that received in 2016 the Chilean Innovation's Award, Avonni (food category).

Head of Research
Program Coordinator - Molecular Genetics / Genomics

Alvaro Castro, Ph.D.

Biochemist from the University of Chile with over 10 years of experience in applied research; has a Ph.D. in Biotechnology from the University of Santiago de Chile. He worked for 12 years at the National Institute of Agricultural Research (INIA), La Platina developing and coordinating activities in the area of ​​molecular biology.

Program Coordinator Agronomy and Environment

Carlos Flores, Ph.D.

Ph.D. in Hydrologic Sciences from UC Davis, M.Sc. in Agriculture Engineering with emphasis in Water Resources from the University of Concepcion (Chile), and a BS in Agriculture Engineering from the University Mayor (Chile). Carlos has engaged in multiple projects on water management and policy, wastewater reuse, irrigation engineering, hydrologic modeling, gender equality in agriculture, and building capacities for water users. 

Bioproducts Development Coordinator 

Freddy Boehmwald, Ph.D. 

Biologist with a PhD in Biotechnology from the University of Santiago, Chile. He has extensive experience in scientific development and bioproducts business strategy, primarily on applied microbiology and enzymology. He worked as Executive Manager for the European biotechnology company Swissaustral Biotech and in the Bioscience Foundation. Freddy has published numerous scientific papers and has led various public and private projects.

Viticulture and Enology Coordinator

Camila Saavedra, M.Sc.

Agronomist from the Pontificia Universidad Católica with a Masters in Vine, Wine and Terroir Management from the Ecole Supérieure d’Agriculture (ESA), in Angers (France).
Camila has vast experience in field work in several Chilean and French wineries, and also in researching this area. In addition to her work in developing new products and analyzing leaves and ground, Camila completed an internship in the Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA), in Gruissan (France).

Postdoc Researcher in Molecular Plan Pathology

Priscila Moraga, Ph.D.

Forest Engineer and a Ph.D. in forest sciences at the University of Concepción (UdeC), with ten years experience in molecular plant pathology, genetic resistance and biological control of forest diseases affecting crops. She has received various public funds, such as the National Ph.D. Scholarship from the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research (CONICYT) a Postdoctoral Project from the National Fund for Scientific and Technological Development (Fondecyt) and also a Fondecyt Project for Initiation in Research. She has been a director and researcher in different applied research projects related to fungal diseases control in wood species.

Postdoc Researcher in Agroclimate Technologies

Francisco Rojo, Ph.D.

Agronomist with a masters in Agricultural Sciences from the University of Chile. Doctorate in Biological Systems Engineering at UC Davis, an institution where he also received a postdoc in applied research of water resource management in crops, using leaf sensors.

Postdoc Researcher in Bioproducts

Denise Cifuentes, Ph.D.

Bio-engineer (2009) with a Ph.D. in Engineering Sciences with  a concentration in Chemical Engineering (2016), both from the Universidad de Concepción (Chile). Denise´s main line of work is the study, development and formulation of bioprocesses, mainly, their application in agro-products elaboration.

Denise worked for the Center of Biotechnology and Bio-engineering (CeBIB), isolating and studying microorganisms from thermal water for applied use, and for the Universidad Católica of Temuco, as a profesor for different careers.

Grape Genotyping Research Assistant

Catalina Pavez, M.Sc.

Biotechnology engineer with a Masters in Biotechnology from the Andrés Bello University (UNAB). Since 2012, she joined the Center for Plant Biotechnology in UNAB, developing molecular biology techniques and managing Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technology.

Endophytes Research Assistant

Diana Toapanta, M.Sc.

Agricultural Engineer specialist in agro biotechnology and plant protection, with lab experience in biological controllers and phytopathogen conservation, management and culture.

Before joining the UC Davis Chile team, Diana worked at the Ecuadorian Agency for Quality Assurance and Agro (Agrocalidad) and the National Water Secretary (Senagua), she also collaborated at the National Institute for Agricultural Research in Ecuador (INIAP) and Chile (INIA).

Endophytes Research Assistant

Isidora Silva

Biochemist from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, with vast lab experience in the academic and private world, including an internship in BASF, in Limburgerhof (Germany).

In 2016, Isidora assumed Design and Development area of The Not Company, Food Tech business that uses artificial intelligence to create plant-based food (Avonni Awards winners in 2016). In 2017, she joins to UC Davis Chile team.

PI Plant pathogen detection

Bryce Falk, Ph.D.

Bryce Falk received his BS degree from Cal Poly in California in 1974, and PhD in Plant Pathology from UC Berkeley in 1978. He did postdoctoral work at UC Riverside and became Assistant Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Florida, Everglades Research and Education Center in 1980. He came to UC Davis in 1985 and was advanced to Distinguished Professor in 2013.  His research deals with plant viruses, insect vectors of plant pathogens and biotechnological applications for plant disease control. He has over 180 publications. His research has funding from Federal, State and commercial sources. He has had over 25 graduate students and 25 postdocs from all over the world, and has collaborations worldwide. 

PI Whole Genome Analytics
co-PI Plant pathogen detection

Dario Cantu, Ph.D.

Cantù is an assistant professor in the Department of Viticulture and Enology. His research group uses genomics, genetics, and bioinformatics to understand plant disease resistance and how pathogenic microorganisms infect plants, cause disease, and evolve to overcome plant host resistance and chemical control strategies. His lab has an integrated and systems-oriented approach that provides a novel framework for the development of strategies to achieve durable genetic resistance in important cultivated plant species, such as grape, coffee, cocoa, wheat, and tomato.

Whole Genome Analytics

Andrew Walker, Ph.D.

Dr. Walker has been a faculty member of the Department of Viticulture and Enology since 1989, the same year he began breeding grapes. His research program focuses on developing new rootstocks with resistance to fanleaf, dagger and root-knot nematodes and phylloxera. His lab studies the genetics of resistance to these pests, their genetic diversity and aggressivity, and host/pest interactions of these pests with grape species. Dr. Walker received his Bachelor's in Botany in 1975, a Master's in Horticulture/Viticulture in 1983, and a PhD in Genetics in 1989 from the University of California, Davis. In November 2000, he was appointed the Louis P. Martini Endowed Chair in Viticulture.

PI Agro-Climate Technologies

Daniele Zaccaria, Ph.D.

Daniele holds a Ph.D. in civil and environmental engineering at Utah State University and he is the Principal Investigator (PI) in California of Agro-climate Technologies research line at UC Davis Chile. His work has focused on the development and validation of agricultural water management solutions to improve resource efficiency in irrigated agriculture. He served as a Scientific Officer at the International Center for Advanced Mediterranean Agronomic Studies in Italy before joining the UC Davis faculty as an Agricultural Water Management and Irrigation Specialist for the UC Cooperative Extension System. 

Agro-Climate Technologies

Richard Snyder, Ph.D.

Rick holds a Ph.D. in Agricultural Climatology from Iowa State University and he is the Co-PI from California of Agro-climate Technologies research line at UC Davis Chile. His work has focused on methods to estimate and measure evapotranspiration for irrigation scheduling. He served as a Principal Investigator on the California Irrigation Management Information System (CIMIS) research and development project, and has authored or co-authored more than 150 refereed papers, including the United Nations FAO book: "Frost Protection: fundamentals, practice, and economics. He is currently a Biometeorology Specialist Emeritus for the UC Cooperative Extension System.