Tara M. Henagan

Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition Science (NUTR)

Contact Information

Office STON G1G
Address 700 W. State Street
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Phone 765.494.4536
Fax 765.494.0906
E-Mail thenagan@purdue.edu


Educational Background

  • BS, Biological Sciences at Louisiana State University in 2004
  • PhD, Minor, Pathobiological Science at Louisiana State University in 2010
  • PhD, Exercise Physiology at Louisiana State University in 2010
  • T32 Postdoctoral Fellow, Neurosignaling/Preventative Medicine at Pennington Biomedical Research Center in 2013

Certificates & Licenses

  • NSCA Strength and Conditioning Specialist - Certified in creating and implementing resistance training programs in 2010

Awards & Honors

  • Director, Nutrition, Fitness and Health Major, 2015 - Present
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Health & Kinesiology, Purdue University, 2014 - Present
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, School of Kinesiology, Louisiana State University, 2014 - 2015
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor, Neurosignaling, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 2013 - 2014

Activities & Memberships

  • (Member), American College of Sports Medicine - Present
  • (Member), American Physiological Society - Present
  • (Advisor), Purdue CHAARG - Present
  • (Member), American Heart Association - Present
  • (Member), American Diabetes Association - Present


Nutrition and exercise interventions have the potential to attenuate the development of insulin resistance, decrease chronic inflammation and reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease risk and metabolic syndrome. Our laboratory is interested in continuing to develop research lines to elucidate mechanisms whereby various nutritional and exercise interventions alter the chromatin state and crosstalk between nuclear and mitochondrial compartments, essentially epigenetically programming mitochondrial adaptation in lean, insulin sensitive or obese, insulin resistant states. We are currently utilizing both clinical and cellular models to determine 1) the effects of dietary fat and/or exercise training on the chromatin state within skeletal muscle that results in differential cellular phenotypes, metabolomes (acylcarnitine profiles) and whole body energy expenditures and phenotypes, focusing on nucleosome reorganization; and 2) epigenetic regulation of PGC1a in skeletal muscle by supplementation with the botanical extract, quercetin, or the metabolite produced by dietary fiber fermentation, butyrate. Understanding the epigenetic mechanisms whereby nutrition and physical activity regulate nuclear gene expression and coordinate with downstream mitochondrial gene expression to determine mitochondrial number and function is crucial in understanding, treating and preventing obesity and type 2 diabetes.

Discovery Publications

  • Forney, L.A., Dietrich, M.A., Johannsen, N.M., Henagan, T.M., Tuuri, G., Nelson, A.G., Barkemeyer, A.K. and Stewart, L.K.. (In Press) Optimal vitamin D status is associated with healthier immune indices in females not regularly active but not in active females. International Journal of Vitamin and Nutrition Research . accepted March 2016.
  • Henagan, T.M., Laeger, T., Navard, A.M., Albarado, D., Noland, R.C., Stadler, K., Elks, C.M., Burk, D. and Morrison, C.D. . (In Press) Hepatic autophagy contributes to the metabolic response to protein restriction. Metabolism - Clinical and Experimental. accepted Feb2016.
  • Henagan, T.M.†, Cefalu, W.T., Ribnicky, D.M., Noland, R.C., Dunville, K. , Campbell, W.W., Stewart, L.K., Forney, L.A. , Gettys, T.W., Chang, J.S. and Morrison, C.D.. (2015) In vivo effects of dietary quercetin and quercetin-rich red onion extract on skeletal muscle mitochondria, metabolism, and insulin sensitivity. Genes and Nutrition. 10(1):1-12.
  • Henagan, T.M.†, Stefanska, B., Fang, Z., Navard, A.M. , Ye, J., Lenard, N.L. and Devarshi, P.P.. (2015) Sodium butyrate epigenetically modulates high fat diet-induced skeletal muscle mitochondrial adaptation, obesity and insulin resistance through nucleosome positioning. British Journal of Pharmacology.
  • Gao, Z., Zhang, J., Henagan, T.M., Lee, J.H., Ye, X., Wang, H. and Ye, J.. (2015) p65 inactivation in adipocytes and macrophages attenuates adipose inflammatory response in lean but not in obese mice. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism.
  • Henagan TM, Lenard NR, Gettys TW, Stewart LK. (2014) Dietary quercetin supplementation in mice increases skeletal muscle PGC1α expression, improves mitochondrial function and attenuates insulin resistance in a time-specific manner. PLoS One. 9(2):e89365. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089365.
  • Laeger T, Reed SD, Henagan TM, Fernandez DH, Tagahavi M, Addington A, Munzberg H, Martin RJ, Hutson SM, Morrison CD. (2014) Leucine acts in the brain to suppress food intake but does not function as a physiological signal of low dietary protein.. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. ajpregu.00116.2014.
  • Laeger T, Henagan TM, Albarado DC, Redman LM, Bray GA, Noland RC, Münzberg H, Hutson SM, Gettys TW, Schwartz MW, Morrison CD. (2014) FGF21 is an endocrine signal of protein restriction. Journal of Clinical Investigation. 124(9):3913-22. doi: 10.1172/JCI74915.
  • Henagan, T.M.†, Stewart, L.K., Forney, L.A., Sparks, L.M., Johannsen, N. and Church, T.S.. (2014) PGC1α -1 Nucleosome Position and Splice Variant Expression and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Overweight and Obese Individuals. PPAR Research. 2014(7)
  • Taylor, E.M., Jones, A.D. and Henagan, T.M.†. (2014) A review of mitochondrial derived fatty acids in epigenetic regulation of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Journal of Nutritional Health and Food Science. 2(3):1-4.
  • Henagan T.M., Forney, L., Dietrich, M.A., Harrell, B.R., and Stewart, L.K. (2012) Melanocortin receptor expression is associated with reduced CRP in response to resistance training. Journal of Applied Physiology.:Pages. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00107.2012. PMID: 22678961.
  • Morrison, C.D., Reed, S., Henagan, T.M. (2012) Homeostatic regulation of protein intake: In search of a mechanism. Am J Physiol Integr Comp Physiol.:Pages. doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00609.2011. PMID: 22319049.

Books, Chapters & Monograph Publications

  • Muenzberg, H., Henagan, T.M., and Gettys, T.W. (In Press) Animal Models of Obesity. In: Handbook of Obesity, 3rd Edition. George A. Bray and Claude Bouchard (eds) Ed(s). Pp.Pages. Publisher, City, State/Country. Other Information.
  • Henagan, T.M., Daray, L.A. and Stewart, L.K. (2009) The Role of Exercise in Modulating Circulating Concentrations of C-Reactive Protein: A Critical Review. In: C-Reactive Protein: New Research. S. Nagasawa (ed) Ed(s). Ch.Chapters. Pp.Pages. Publisher, City, State/Country. Other Information.

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