Li Tian

Li Tian

Position Title
John E. Kinsella Endowed Chair in Food, Nutrition and Health

  • Faculty
UC Davis, One Shields Ave, Davis CA 95616


  • Ph.D., Michigan State University; Plant Biology, 2003

Research interests and expertise: 

Phytonutrient biochemistry and physiology; Biosynthesis, accumulation and function of carotenoids and polyphenols in plants; Targeted improvement of crop phytonutrient composition and content for enhanced nutritional and medicinal values.

Current projects: 

  • Vitamin A Biofortification of Wheat Grains Using a TILLING Mutant-Based Approach, USDA-NIFA AFRI
  • Elucidating the genetic pathways involved in shikimate, anthocyanin and hydrolyzable tannin accumulation in pomegranate, US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD)

Current teaching: 

  • Plants and Society; PLS/SAS 012 (fall quarter)
  • Medicinal Plants around the World; FYS003 (fall quarter)
  • Plant Biochemistry; PLB/MCB 126 (winter quarter)

External activities that contribute to scholarship

  • President, Phytochemical Society of North America
  • Member of Advisory Committee, Campus Mass Spec Facility

Google Scholar 



  • Plant biochemistry
  • Plant specialized metabolites
  • Plant natural products
  • Phytonutrients
  • Hydrolyzable tannin
  • Polyphenols
  • Flavonoids
  • Carotenoid
  • Provitamin A
  • Pomegranate
  • Wheat
  • Potato
  • Tomato
  • Arabidopsis