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Center for Nutrition and Performance

About Center for Nutrition & Performance

Drexel’s Center for Nutrition & Performance is a collaboration of Drexel Athletics and the Department of Nutrition Sciences. Our mission is to provide evidence-based nutritional advice to the entire Drexel community to optimize athletic performance, well-being and overall health.

Proper nutritional support is a critical component of athletic success. Fueling your body in accordance with the demands of your sport can reduce injury risk, improve your stamina and enhance your physical resilience, all while helping you meet — and exceed — your personal best.

The faculty, students and interns on our Center for Nutrition & Performance team have developed a full suite of sports nutrition programming accessible to all Drexel Dragons athletes. We also engage in noteworthy partnerships with community organizations and professional sports franchises, including the Philadelphia Union, the Philadelphia Flyers and the Lehigh Phantoms.

We encourage athletes, coaches and community partners to take advantage of our comprehensive, research-driven services. On-site nutrition support, customized game day meal plans, educational seminars, grocery store tours and more are available to enrich any athletic endeavor. At the Center for Nutrition & Performance, we believe the competitive edge is only a bite away!

Sports Nutrition Services and Student Engagement Opportunities

Sports Nutrition Fellowship

The mission of the Center for Nutrition & Performance is to provide evidence-based nutritional advice to the entire Drexel community for maintenance and improvement of overall health, focusing on the following principles: lifelong health, respect for each individual’s needs and performance (athletic and cognitive). Center for Nutrition & Performance fellows are responsible for perpetuating the integrity of our mission through their action and experiences throughout the length of the program.

The Sports Nutrition Fellowship is designed to provide registered dietitians with hands-on professional and collegiate sports experience, while earning 75 CPEUs and hours towards the CSSD examination. Candidates will have the opportunity to work with CNP sports dietitians, the Drexel Division I athletes, NHL and MLS teams for a total of 20 weeks. Candidates will be required to work for a minimum of 20 hours per week in a hybrid environment of potentially on-site at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA and remote. Candidates must apply using the following link:

Apply Now

Qualifications, Minimum Education and Experience
Current registered dietitian credential
Bachelor’s or Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics
Completion of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) didactic education requirements
Current licensure in Pennsylvania preferred
Familiarity with sports nutrition preferred

Duration: 20 Weeks

Contact: Please send cover letter, resume and references to Andrea Irvine, assistant director of the Center for Nutrition & Performance,

Center for Nutrition & Performance Sports Nutrition Internship

The Center for Nutrition & Performance (CNP) accepts Drexel undergraduate and graduate student interns looking to gain unique interdisciplinary experience in the field of sports nutrition. Responsibilities may include, but are not limited to, research and data collection, preparation and delivery of nutrition group presentations, literature reviews, creating nutritional fact sheets, website development and maintenance, creating social media posts and reels, bulletin board development, working with DI athletic teams, staff and support staff, hydration testing, assisting with body composition assessment and management of the athletic fueling lounge.

If interested in learning more or becoming an intern, please email Andrea Irvine, MS, RD, LDN

Seminar Series: Introduction to Sports Nutrition

Developed specifically for NCAA teams, this six-week interactive series provides an overview of key performance-related nutrition topics. Each 15-minute session fits easily into your team calendar; coaches are encouraged to schedule all six sessions during pre-season. Topics include:

  • Sport-Specific Nutrition Tips
  • Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition
  • Eating on the Road
  • Dietary Supplements

To schedule the series for your team, please email Andrea Irvine, MS, RD, LDN

Game Day Meal Plans

Competing at home or on the road? Our registered dieticians provide 24-48-hour meal plans designed to help your team perform at the highest level, no matter where the game takes them. Meal planning services are available to Drexel athletic teams and our community partners.

Onsite Nutrition Support

This mobile service brings science-based nutrition support to the court, field, locker room or arena. Our Center for Nutrition & Performance team collaborates with Drexel coaching staff to assist athletes in making appropriate nutrition choices prior to, during and after competition, as well as providing fueling options as needed.

Specialty Programming

Customized presentations on nutrition-related topics are available for all groups within the Drexel community. Content is tailored to the specific interests of your members; previous offerings have included “Nutrition and Stress,” “Eating for Energy Balance: Female Athlete Triad” and our popular “Guided Grocery Shopping Tour.”

Athlete Specific Grocery Tours

Learn to shop for success through our supermarket tours! This program teaches NCAA Division I athletes the fundamentals of nutritional support. During the 45-minute tour, our Center for Nutrition & Performance experts also share strategies for combating nutritional deficits and other common issues that stem from intense training and competition.

Tours can be scheduled by emailing



Center for Nutrition & Performance director, Nyree Dardarian, MS, RDN, CSSD, FAND, LDN, assistant clinical professor, first developed the concept of the Dragon Gel while counseling athletes on the Drexel Men’s Soccer team. After learning that members of the team were in need of a halftime fuel source, Dardarian set out to find something that contained enough carbohydrate to replenish what players had used, so they could continue to perform for the duration of the game. What she discovered was the products currently on the market left a lot to be desired. Working with a group of Center for Nutrition & Performance interns and the Culinary Arts and Food Science program, Dardarian began the process of developing a halftime fuel source that would provide sufficient carbohydrate while still being palatable. The final result is the Dragon Gel.


A Dragon Gel is a 1.5 ounce gummy-like product packed with ~38 grams of carbohydrate that has a delicious blue-raspberry flavor. Dragon Gels are produced by members of Center for Nutrition & Performance in the Metabolic Lab Kitchen at Drexel’s Three Parkway Building.


The Dragon Gel replenishes muscle glycogen stores that are depleted during competition. It contains ~38 grams of carbohydrate (fructose and dextrose), the body’s preferred fuel source, and only 1 gram of protein, so it provides an athlete with energy that won’t leave them feeling weighed down or sluggish.

How to Order

Drexel Athletics staff members can access the Dragon Gel order form via the Athletics Sharepoint website.

Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about how Dragon Gels can help take your team’s athletic performance to the next level, please contact Andrea Irvine, MS, RD, LDN at


Nyree Dardarian, EdD, RDN, LDN

Nyree Dardarian, EdD, is a professor in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University and director of the Center for Nutrition & Performance (CNP). She is a board-certified specialist in Sports Dietetics and fellow of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and a certified ISAK anthropomitrist.

Dardarian provides sports nutrition services to professional sports teams, Philadelphia Union (Major League Soccer, MLS), the Philadelphia Flyers (National Hockey League, NHL) and US Squash players.

Dardarian is a TEDx speaker whose work has been on the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer twice, most notably for eating at McDonalds for 30 days. She is a frequent contributor to local and national media including CBS Philly, WHYY, Prevention Magazine and Women’s Health Magazine in topics ranging from nutrient content, weight management, sports nutrition and nutrition for specialized populations.

She developed the formulation of Dragon Gels™, an in-sport fuel used exclusively by the teams she supports. Dragon Gels™ are produced, packaged and distributed through the Metabolic Kitchen, Drexel University.

Andrea Irvine, MS, RDN, LDN

Andrea Irvine serves as the assistant director for the Center for Nutrition & Performance. In this position, she provides evidenced based nutritional education and counseling to teams and individual athletes to enhance optimal sports performance, well-being and overall health. She is responsible for providing ongoing performance nutrition strategies, participating in research and data collection, development and maintenance of social media and the management of the fueling station and lounge. Irvine is also an adjunct professor for Drexel University’s College of Nursing and Health Professions in the Nutrition Sciences Department.

Irvine is an active member of the Collegiate and Professional Sports Dietitians Association (CPSDA), the Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Dietetic Practice group (SCAN) and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND). She is a board member for the New Jersey Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (NJAND) where she is currently serving as treasurer elect (2022). Previously, she served as Region 1 Co-chair from 2018-2020. Irvine is certified as an ISAK level 1 anthropometrist.

Kaitlin Poillon, MS, RDN, LDN

Kaitlin Poillon is the Nutrition Counseling Services practice manager and outpatient registered dietitian at Drexel University. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from the University of Delaware as well as a Master of Science in Dietetics from the University of Rhode Island. Poillon is a passionate and knowledgeable licensed registered dietitian with years of ongoing professional experience in many different settings, including acute clinical care, weight loss, oncology and outpatient nutrition counseling. She possesses extensive knowledge of medical nutrition therapy to prevent and/or manage many different disease states, including but not limited to diabetes, heart eisease, GI diseases, cancer, renal disease and many more. Poillon focuses much of her outpatient work in helping clients form healthy, sustainable and balanced relationships with food. She states, “My ultimate goal is to share my knowledge of nutrition and love for food in helping others lead happy and healthy lives.”

Philadelphia Union (MSL), Bethlehem Steele (USL), YSC Academy
Contracted to provide ongoing team performance nutrition strategies.

Philadelphia Flyers (NHL) and Lehigh Phantoms
Contracted to provide ongoing team performance nutrition strategies.

World University Games – Korea 2015 & Taiwan 2017
The World University Games is an international multi-sport event, organized for university athletes by the International University Sports Federation. The partnership between Drexel and the World University Games began in 2015 with the Summer Universiade in Gwanju City, South Korea; Center for Nutrition & Performance interns traveled to Korea and offered nutrition guidance to the athletes. The 2017 Summer Universiade will be hosted in Taipei, Taiwan. Through this partnership, our interns have an opportunity to implement their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting.

Center for Nutrition & Performance offer nutrition support and guidance to World University Games’ athletes by:

  • Creating educational resources on sports nutrition guidelines for international travel and dietary customs of host country.
  • Providing onsite nutrition advice, including navigating the dining hall and pre-/post-event nutrition, in the Athlete’s Village throughout the competition.

Union League of Philadelphia
Offer on-site nutrition counseling for Union League staff.

Merion Cricket Club
Conducted recipe analysis and developed nutrition facts labels for healthy menu initiative.

Community Nutrition Presentations and Tabling Events
Provide Drexel organizations and members of the Philadelphia community with nutrition tips, including healthy urban eating, nutrition and stress and nutrition for exercise and sport. Past events have included:

  • Philadelphia Annual Veterans Resource Fair
  • Drexel University Benefits Fair
  • Science Night at the Ballpark
  • Drexel University Wellness on Wheels