Swanson honored as The Kraft Heinz Company Professor in Human Nutrition
By Stephanie Henry
April 20, 2017
  • /ACES
  • /ACES News
  • /Animal Sciences
  • /Division of Nutritional Sciences
  • /Office of Research

URBANA, Ill. – Kelly S. Swanson, a world-renowned comparative nutritionist, was honored during an investiture ceremony for The Kraft Heinz Company Professorship in Human Nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at the University of Illinois on April 20.

Swanson, also a professor in the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences at U of I, began the new appointment Jan. 1, 2017.

Swanson’s laboratory studies the effects of nutritional intervention on health outcomes, identifying mechanisms by which nutrients impact gene expression and host physiology, with primary emphasis on gastrointestinal health and obesity. His research of both basic and applied target areas studies rodents, dogs, cats, and humans.

“I have known Dr. Swanson for 20 years. I was an assistant professor in 1997 when Kelly arrived at the University of Illinois to pursue a Ph.D. in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. In the comparative nutrition field I have witnessed his transition from neophyte to highly decorated teacher and researcher,” said Rodney Johnson, director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences. “I am very proud to claim Kelly as a faculty colleague in the Division of Nutritional Sciences and the Department of Animal Sciences. It is especially gratifying that he is a product of interdisciplinary training provided by the Division of Nutritional Sciences, one of the academic units supported by The Kraft Heinz Company.” 

Over the past decade, Swanson has established an internationally recognized research program, highlighted by more than $11.5 million in research support, some 100 invited lectures in 11 countries, and more than 140 peer-reviewed publications. He has received 12 research and teaching awards, including those from the American Society for Nutrition and the American Society of Animal Science.

Swanson became an assistant professor in the College of ACES in 2004, was promoted to associate professor in 2009, and full professor in 2014. He received the 2014 University of Illinois Campus Distinguished Promotion Award, honoring exceptional scholars whose contributions have been extraordinary in quality of work and overall achievement.

The human nutrition professorship benefits an individual with expertise and academic abilities in a field of research that directly contributes to understanding human health and disease and is a faculty member in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. The funds may be used for research by or on behalf of the individual appointed to the professorship.

Two other individuals have held the professorship to date: George Fahey (2006–2011) and   Kelly Tappenden (Jan. 2012–Dec. 2016).

In addition to the professorship, The Kraft Heinz Company Human Nutrition Endowment provides support for fellowships and experiential learning for graduate students in the Division of Nutritional Sciences. It also funds scholarships for undergraduates in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition.