Cardiovascular Nutrition Research Laboratory

Meet Our Team

We are always looking for hard-working, motivated and curious individuals to join our team. If you are interested in working with us, please email Dr. Lennon directly.

Shannon L. Lennon, PhD, RDN

Principle Investigator

Dr. Lennon earned her PhD from the University of Florida before completing her postdoctoral training at the Whitaker Cardiovascular Institute at Boston University Medical Center. She came to Delaware in 2007 and is currently an Associate Professor. Dr. Lennon has a background in nutrition and her interests span diet and cardiovascular health and disease. In her free time, she likes to watch her kids sporting events and run the trails in the White Clay Creek Preserve.

Andrea Lobene, PhD, RDN

Postdoctoral Researcher

Andrea earned her bachelor’s in dietetics and her master’s in foods and nutrition from the University of Georgia, and her PhD in nutrition science from Purdue University. She is also a registered dietitian. Her research interests are focused on nutrition, particularly mineral intake, and chronic disease. Outside of the lab she enjoys cooking, traveling, comedy, and going for walks with her dog.

Kristina Davis, MS, RD, LDN

Registered Dietitian

Kristina received her bachelors and master’s degrees in Human Nutrition from the University of Delaware. She completed her dietetic internship at the University of Iowa. After spending 3 years practicing clinical dietetics in a hospital setting, Kristina returned to UD to work as the Registered Dietitian in the Cardiovascular Nutrition Research Lab. In her spare time Kristina enjoys spending time with her dogs and indulging in delicious meals and desserts.

Katarina Smiljanec, M.S.

Doctoral Student

Katarina got her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Human Nutrition, Foods and Exercise from Virginia Tech while training and competing for the Virginia Tech track and cross country team. She currently works on several projects investigating the effects of sodium, potassium, and antioxidants on vascular function, while starting a new project on the effect of sodium on gut microbiota. When not in the lab, she enjoys running, reading, and good food. During breaks she loves traveling and exploring new places and tries to visit her native Croatia when she gets a chance to.

Macarena Ramos Gonzalez, M.S.

Doctoral Student

Maca is passionate about how the myocardium and the vasculature work together and affect each other. Originally from Spain, she received her BS in Exercise and Sports Sciences from the University of Granada in 2014 and pursued further education at the University of Oklahoma, where she received her MS in Exercise Physiology in 2017. Her previous research has involved retrograde shear and microvascular function, effects of fatty meals on the vasculature and ischemia-reperfusion injury. Her current research focuses on the differences between a western and a vegetarian diet. She also examines the effects of sodium and potassium on vascular health and how salt impacts the mitochondria of endothelial cells. Her dissertation focuses on the importance of melatonin as an antioxidant against oxidative stress imposed by high salt dietary consumption. Outside the work place, you can find Maca practicing Crossfit, playing tennis, going out for a hike with her dog, Hera, or sharing all kinds of food with her friends.

Mike Axler, M.S.

Doctoral Student

Mike earned his BS from Rutgers University and MS from The University of Central Florida. Coming from a strength and conditioning background, and partaking in research at UCF’s Human Performance Lab, Mike is excited to begin work in the Cardiovascular Nutrition Research Lab. He’s an ice cream enthusiast, as well as a big fan of running, lifting, and reading.

Kate Kaseman, BS

Doctoral Student

Kate earned her BS in Exercise Science from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. In addition to schooling, many years of work as a massage therapist gave her a profound interest in the human body and the desire for knowledge which could benefit the lives of others. She is particularly interested in the cardiovascular system and the effects of diet and exercise. Outside of work and studying, Kate enjoys running, kickboxing, skiing on the local mountains, exploring the great outdoors, and cooking new, healthy, and occasionally unhealthy recipes.

Liza Walker, B.S.

Lab Coordinator

Liza has been with the University of Delaware since 2008, first serving as a research coordinator for the Physical Therapy Department, and now, working as a lab coordinator for the Cardiovascular Labs. Her main interests are in health and nutrition.   Outside of work you can find her testing new recipes, gardening, running and playing tennis. 

Undergraduate Students

Paige Kutler

Paige Kutler is currently a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics, along with minors in Spanish and Strength and Conditioning. With this degree, she plans to become and R.D. and attend graduate school to specialize in sports nutrition. She is a big Philly sports fan, and enjoys watching the games with family and friends. 




Antoinette Portnoy

Antoinette is a sophomore undergraduate student at the University of Delaware. She is pursuing a degree in Nutrition and Medical Sciences with a minor in biological sciences. Originally from New York City, she plans on attending medical school. Antoinette is excited to be a part of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Research Lab team. Outside of the lab, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her friends.




Lab Alumni

Alexis Mbakwe, MS (2016-2020) Medical student at West Virginia University School of Medicine

Christina Ushler, MS, RD (2017-2019) Registered Dietitian at Fresenius Kidney Care and Wellness by Christina

Rachel Dye, MS (2016-2018) Nutritionist at Delaware WIC Program

Michelle Zuelch, MS, RD (2015-2017) PhD student at UC Davis in Nutritional Sciences

John Guers, PhD, (2012-2016) Assistant Professor at Stockton University

Beth Nachman, MS (2014-2016) Clinical Trial Assistant, INC Research/InVentiv Health

Karen Stave, MS, RD (2013-2015) Registered Dietitian at Duke University Health System

Brooke Weaver, MS (2012 – 2014) Senior Regulator Analyst at The Nature’s Bounty Co.

Courtney Ferreira, MS, RD, LDN, CPT (2012-2014) Real Food Court, LLC

Brittany Allman, PhD (2011-2013) Postdoctoral Fellow, Arkansas Children’s Nutrition Center

Taylor Schellhardt, MS, MAPS, RD (2009-2012) Physician Assistant, Cleveland Clinic