Swanson, Kelly

Professor of Animal Sciences
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


Ph.D., Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

M.S., Nutritional Sciences, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

B.S., Animal and Range Sciences, North Dakota State University



Comparative nutrition, companion animal nutrition, nutritional genomics, appetite regulation and obesity, intestinal microbiota and disease

The Swanson laboratory applies genomic biology to solve nutrition- or disease-related problems in the areas of 'appetite regulation and obesity' and 'intestinal health and disease'. Both comparative and applied nutrition research projects are performed in our laboratory, including those studying human subjects, traditional animal models (e.g., rodents, dogs or cats) and exotic animals (e.g., wild felid species).

A primary aim of our laboratory is to study the effects of diet, age and genotype on intestinal microbiota abundance and activity. DNA-based techniques such as denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) are currently being used in the lab. Current projects are designed to evaluate the effects of diet (e.g., high protein diets; prebiotic supplementation), age (e.g., weanling animals, geriatric vs. young adults) and genotype (e.g., numerous wild and domestic felid species) on intestinal microbial populations. Key associations between intestinal microbiota and disease are also being studied.

Another primary area of research pertains to appetite regulation and obesity. In addition to measuring gut peptide response to dietary manipulation, molecular techniques such as DNA microarrays and qRT-PCR are used to identify mechanisms or metabolic pathways affected in key metabolic tissues. Adipose tissue and skeletal muscle play important roles in energy homeostasis and glucose and lipid metabolism and are the focus of several ongoing projects.



North Dakota State University Alumni Horizon Award  (2008)

International Life Sciences Institute North America Future Leader Award Recipient (2006)

Faculty Fellow, National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA), University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (2005-2006)

Dannon Institute Nutrition Leadership Institute Recipient (2005)