Michelle McGuire

Dr. Michelle (Shelley) McGuire is a human nutrition researcher with expertise in maternal and infant nutrition, particularly during the period of breastfeeding. Classically trained by some of the longstanding leaders in human and bovine lactation research at the University of Illinois and Cornell University, Dr. McGuire is now Professor of nutrition at Washington State University, where she has been conducting clinical research related to nutrition, lactation, and breastfeeding since 1995. Intrigued with almost any aspect related to these themes, Shelley’s research topics have spanned a variety of topics including nutritional regulation of minerals, hormones, and lipids in human milk. Her work (in collaboration with her husband and scientific partner-in-crime, Dr. Mark McGuire, University of Idaho) has shown repeatedly that chronic maternal energy balance is related to total milk fat in women, and suggests that maternal consumption of certain trans fatty acids might lead to milk fat depression – at least in lean women. The McGuires’ collaborative research has also uncovered a surprising relationship between early loss of body fat and short duration of postpartum anovulation in healthy, breastfeeding women. Most recently, Shelley’s research has (serendipitously) shifted to focus on understanding factors such as environment, maternal diet, childcare practices, and evolutionary selection that might be related to variation in bacteria in human milk. More importantly, her research team is committed to understanding how this variation might be related to maternal and infant health and disease. They posit that “normal” shifts, in this regard, to support unique combinations of biological, cultural, and environmental constructs. This work has, almost overnight, opened her eyes to the critical nature of cross-disciplinary, international collaborations. When she is not studying human milk and lactation, Shelley keeps quite busy as a science writer. Her introductory college-level nutrition textbooks, Nutritional Sciences: from Fundamentals, to Foods, 3rd edition and NUTR, 2nd edition (both published by Cengage, and coauthored with Dr. Kathy Beerman) are popular around the globe. Committed to exceptional education, she was awarded Washington State University’s prestigious Thomas E. Lutz Teaching Excellence Award in 2016. Dr. McGuire has been on the executive committee of the International Society for Research in Human Milk and Lactation (ISRHML) since 2010, and is an active member of the American Society for Nutrition. Shelley and Mark McGuire live in Moscow, Idaho.

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