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.

General Manager and Research & Business Manager

Mauricio Cañoles, Ph.D., MII

Agronomist from Universidad de Chile, Master in Industrial Engineering (MII) from Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile and Ph.D. in Horticulture from Michigan State University (MSU) from the US, with vast experience in project analysis y strategic models development, specially related to the AgriFood sector and environment. Doctor Cañoles is part of UC Davis Chile’s team practically from its beginning, first as Program and Consulting Development Manager, afterwards as Associate Director, and currently as General Manager and Research and Business Manager.


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.

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).

Administration and Financial Coordinator

Jorge Cabezas, M.Sc.

Agribusiness Engineer with a diploma in Entrepreneurship from the Universidad Central de Chile and a finance master from 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 Analyst

Marcela Hidalgo

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


Project Manager

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

Evelyn Bahamondes

Executive Assistant with experience in customer service and in administrative positions in educational, health and technological institutions. Evelyn coordinates the different requests of the local team, in addition to the standard functions of the office reception.

Partnership 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.

Intellectual Property and Tech Transfer Coordinator

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.  

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 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.

Postdoc Researcher in Bioproducts

Patricio Muñoz Ph.D.

Biochemist and Doctor in Biotechnology from the University of Santiago, specialized in biochemistry, microbiology, biotechnology and molecular biology, with vast experience in the field of scientific research and teaching. In his career, Patricio has worked as main investigator in projects funded by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (INACH) for the study of Antarctic extremophilic microorganisms. He has also participated in CORFO (Production Promotion Corporation) and CONICYT (National Comission of Science and Tecnological Investigation) projects as Alternate Director and Associate Researcher, respectively, and as a scientific advisor on microbial genetic resources.

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.

Lab Manager

Gabriela Jiménez

Engineer and Master in biotechnology from Universidad Andrés Bello, Gabriela joins UC Davis Chile as part of Araucaria Project. Has experience in research in biology, molecular and biochemical assays, studies and operations in laboratory and scientific reports.

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.