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

  • Adjunct Assistant Professor from Pennington Biomedical Research Center, 2013 - Present


Mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic derangement are hallmarks in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Carefully controlled 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. Thus, 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. As part of this goal, we are specifically interested in the epigenetic regulation of key genes involved in mitochondrial adaptation, such as peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor gamma coactivor 1 alpha (PGC1a). We are currently utilizing both clinical and small animal 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., Earnest, C.P., Henagan, T.M., Johnson, L., Castleberry, T., and Stewart, L.K. (2013) Vitamin D status, body composition and fitness measures in younger, physically active individuals. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.:Pages. ISSN 1064-8011.
  • 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.
  • Tchoukalova, Y.D., Fitch, M., Rogers, P.M., Covington, J.D., Henagan, T.M., Hellerstein, M.C., Ye, J. and Ravussin, E. (2012) In vivo adipogenesis in rats measured by cell kinetics in adipocytes and plastic-adherent stroma-vascular cells in response to high fat diet and thiazolidinedione. Diabetes. 61(1):137-44. PMID: 2212446.
  • 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.
  • Daray, L.A., Henagan, T.M., Zanovec, M., Ernest, C.P., Johnson, L.G., Winchester, J., Tuuri, G., Stewart, L.K. (2011) Endurance and resistance training lowers C-reactive protein in young, healthy females. Applied Physiology, Nutrition and Metabolism. 36(5):660-670. Other Information.
  • Rietscher, H., Henagan, T.M., Earnest, C.P., Baker, B.L., Cortez, C.C., Stewart, L.K. (2011) Sun-dried raisins are a cost effective alternative to sports jelly beans in prolonged cycling. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research.:Pages. doi:10.1519/JSC.0b013e31820f5089.
  • Zhang, J., Henagan, T.M., Gao, Z., Ye, J. (2011) Inhibition of glyceroneogenesis by histone deacetylase 3 contributes to lipodystrophy in mice with adipose tissue inflammation. Endocrinology. 152(5):1829-38. Other Information.
  • Henagan, T.M., Philips, M., Cheek, D., Kirk, M., Barbee, J.J., and Stewart, L.K. (2011) Melanocortin 3 receptor: A novel mediator of exercise-induced inflammation reduction in postmenopausal women?. Journal of Aging Research.:Pages. Jan 2011: 512593.
  • Hasek, B.E., Stewart, L.K., Henagan, T.M., Lenard, N.R., Boudreau, A., Black, C., Shin, J., Huypens, P., Malloy, V., Plaisance, E., Krajcik, R.A., Orenteich, N., and Gettys, T.W. (2010) Dietary methionine restriction enhances metabolic flexibility and increases uncoupled respiration in both fed and fasted states. Am J Physiol Integr Comp Physiol. 299(3):R728-39. Other Information.
  • Plaisance, E., Henagan, T.M., Echlin, H., Boudreau, A., Hill, K.R., Lenard, N.R., Hasek, B.E., Orentreich, N., Gettys, T.W. (2010) Role of β-adrenergic receptors in the hyperphagic and hypermetabolic responses to dietary methionine restriction: Companion Paper. Am J Physiol Intgr Comp Physiol. 299(3):R740-50. Other Information.
  • Zhang, Y., Huypens, P., Adamson, A.W., Chang, J., Henagan, T.M. Boudreau, A., Lenard, N.R., Burk, D., Klein, J., Perwitz, N., Shin, J., Fasshauer, M., Kralli, A., and Gettys, T.W. (2009) Alternative mRNA splicing produces a novel biologically active short isoform of PGC-1α. Journal of Biological Chemistry. 284(47):32813-26. Other Information.
  • Zhang, Y., Kilroy, S.G., Henagan, T.M., Prpic-Uhing, V., Richards, W., Bannon, A.W., Mynatt, R.L., Gettys, T.W. (2005) Effect of deletion of CART or melanocortin receptor subtypes on behavioral and metabolic responses to leptin. The FASEB Journal. 19(11):1482-91. Other Information.

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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