Breanna Metras

Department Division of Nutritional Sciences

I am a 5th year PhD candidate in Dr. Swanson’s lab where I investigate the effects of live microorganisms in the dairy beverage kefir and compare them to commercial kefir. Thus far, I have assessed the microbial composition, CFU/mL, and label accuracy of commercial kefir products; ran a canine intervention trial on grain and commercial kefir; and have done two related experiments with the in vitro fermentation of select fibers. Previously, I have conducted research on green organic medicinal drug synthesis, antioxidant biochemistry, food science and aromatic compound extraction, and flavanone phytochemicals in a mouse model. I plan to graduate in May 2024 with my PhD in Nutritional Sciences and ready to complete my RDN certificate. I received the USDA Gut-Brain Axis (GBA) fellowship in ‘19 and was awarded the Dissertation completion fellowship from the Graduate College in ‘23. I have been employed at McKinley Health Center since ‘21 as a grad assistant for the Health Education Department where I help run Nutrition Peers and mentor undergraduate Dietetic students at UIUC. My main leadership involvement in graduate school have been with the Student Fellows Association (SFA) of the International Scientific Association of Probiotics and Prebiotics (ISAPP) where I served as Local Organizer (’22-‘23), and Treasurer (’23-’24).

In my free time I love spending time with my cat Kimchi, exercising, seeing friends, cooking, playing clarinet, fencing, and trying new things!

Hometown Franklin, MA
Degrees B.S. Biochemistry with Honors minor from the University of Massachusetts Boston
Current Position PhD Candidate in the Division of Nutritional Sciences, Graduate Assistant at McKinley Health Center in Nutrition Health Education, and Dietetic Intern
Career Goals Work in the US Government to better nutrition policy and regulations for Americans; develop a private practice as a dietitian focused on gut health.
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