Study Staff Biographies
Kari Pilolla, PhD, RDN
Kari Pilolla is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the College of Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences, the Cal Poly Dietetic Internship Director, and a Research Associate within the Center for Solutions Through Research in Diet and Exercise, an obesity-focused research center, at the California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Her educational background includes Master of Science degrees in both nutrition science and exercise physiology and a Doctoral degree in nutrition science with minors in exercise physiology and adult and higher education. Her graduate work focused on exercise and diet effects on metabolic syndrome and other cardiometabolic risk factors in at-risk women. After completing her dissertation, she worked as a post-doctoral scholar on USDA childhood obesity grant through Extension programs in Oregon. Additionally, Dr. Pilolla is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, a Radiology Technician (specializing in DEXA) in the state of California and holds a Certificate of Training in Adult Weight Management through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Dr. Pilolla has a varied background that spans from functional health and sports nutrition to cardiometabolic and gut health. She has worked in clinical health care and research settings as a clinical exercise physiologist, dietitian, and researcher, treating and preventing obesity and related co-morbidities through diet and exercise modifications in various populations from preschool through older adulthood. Dr. Pilolla’s research focuses on the role of nutrition and exercise in cardiometabolic health risk and nutrition for sport performance and recovery.
Michael LaFrano, PhD, RDN
Michael La Frano is an Assistant Professor at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo in the Department of Food Science and Nutrition. He graduated from Loma Linda University with a Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition & Dietetics and later passed the licensing exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. He also earned his PhD in Nutritional Biology at the University of California, Davis. Working with the program HarvestPlus, his initial research focused primarily on alleviating nutritional deficiencies by biofortifying (cross-breeding) staple crops with increased concentrations of micronutrients for food-based interventions in developing countries. As a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Davis he worked in the field of metabolomics, the large-scale study of metabolites within the body. In this role, he supported collaborative nutritional- and disease-related research in metabolomics both working as a project scientist and developing analysis methods for the NIH West Coast Metabolomics Center (WCMC). Currently he is at Cal Poly where he is continuing his research in both metabolomics and comprehensive nutrient analyses. In addition, he is lecturing classes in introductory nutrition, nutrient metabolism and the metabolic and molecular aspects of vitamins.
Taylor Bloedon, PhD, RDN, CSSD
Taylor Bloedon is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the College of Professional Studies, Kinesiology and Recreation Administration Department at Humboldt State University in Arcata California. Her background includes a Master of Science degree in food and nutrition science with a minor in exercise science and a Doctoral degree in human nutrition sciences with a minor in exercise sport science. Dr. Bloedon is also a Registered Dietitian and is a Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics through the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She has worked as a health and wellness specialist for university employees at The University of Maine and as a consultant for athletics for sports nutrition at The University of Maine and Humboldt State University. Her research focuses on the impact of whole foods on oxidative stress and inflammation, fat oxidation rates in exercise and cardiometabolic risk.
Karli McCarthy, RDN
Karli McCarthy is a Nutrition Graduate student at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. She also received her Bachelor's degree in Applied Nutrition from Cal Poly in Spring of 2020, later went on to complete the Cal Poly Dietetic Internship, and passed the exam to become a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. Karli has been involved in various research studies during her undergraduate and graduate studies but has devoted a significant amount of time to this study. She has been working on the ReCHARGE with Strawberries study since the start and will be using the data collected to write her Master's thesis.