Department of Nutrition Science - Food for Thought


September 2013
  Upcoming Department Events

September 28, 2013: The Department of Nutrition Science Fall Homecoming Picnic is just a few days away! The Nutrition Science Graduate Student Organization (NSGSO) invites all faculty, staff, students, alumni and corporate affiliates to join us on Saturday, September 28th at 5 p.m. for a pitch-in picnic. The picnic will be held outside the north doors of Stone Hall, (rain location is room 150, the old HTM Café). The NSGSO will provide both meat and vegetarian main dishes and beverages. Please feel free to bring a side dish or dessert to share. We look forward to seeing you there, and Boiler Up! For more information, contact the NSGSO at

September 24-26, 2013: Ingestive Behavior Research Center (IBRC) Symposium on Eating Patterns, Diet Quality and Energy Balance.  Register at

September 26, 2013:   Women’s Global Health Institute High Tea and Update.

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Farewell to Marilyn McCammack

Marilyn McCammack retired in August after almost 40 years serving our department.  She was hired in 1973 as the secretary to the department head and Abernathys and Weaverserved Elwood Reber, Helen Clark and Paul Abernathy in that position until 1981.  Beginning in 1983 she worked with Avanelle Kirksey on her Egypt project and then continued to work with her until 1995.  During the last decade she devoted much of her time to graduate admissions. 

Marilyn with cakeMarilyn witnessed many changes during her time at Purdue. The name of the college changed from Home Economics to Consumer and Family Sciences, and the department changed from Foods and Nutrition to Nutrition Science.  In 2010 she was part of the major structural change that joined the previous College of Consumer and Family Sciences with five other campus units to create the new College of Health and Human Sciences. Throughout her time at Purdue, Marilyn had the opportunity to work in eight different locations in Stone Hall!

Isobel Miller reading poemHer retirement celebration was filled with friends and family who came from far and wide to celebrate her dedication to the faculty, staff and students of the department. A highlight was a poem written in Marilyn’s honor and presented by Isobel Miller.



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Welcome to Nutrition Science

The Department of Nutrition Science welcomed three assistant professors and a continuing lecturer to our ranks in August.

Katie Hill GallantDr. Kathleen (Katie) Hill Gallant is Assistant Professor & Director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics. Dr. Hill Gallant completed her BS in dietetics at the University of North Dakota (Grand Forks, ND) in the Coordinated Program in Dietetics. She worked as a registered dietitian in acute-care and rehabilitation clinical settings while completing her MS in kinesiology also at the University of North Dakota. She received her PhD in nutrition from Purdue University under the mentorship of Dr. Connie Weaver, and trained as a postdoc at Indiana University School of Medicine (Indianapolis, IN) in the Department of Medicine-Division of Endocrinology with Dr. Munro Peacock, and in the Department of Anatomy & Cell Biology with Dr. David Burr. Dr. Hill Gallant’s research interests are in the area of bone and mineral metabolism, using human clinical studies and translational studies in animal models. Specifically, her research focuses on phosphorus metabolism in health and in chronic kidney disease.

Dr. TarTara Henagana Henagan joined as Assistant Professor. Dr. Henagan completed her BS in Biological Sciences with a minor in Anthropology at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, LA. At this time, she began research in the area of obesity and type 2 diabetes as a Research Associate in the Adipocyte Signaling Laboratory with Dr. Thomas W. Gettys at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center.  In 2010, Dr. Henagan received her PhD in Exercise Physiology with a minor in Pathobiological Sciences under the mentorship of Drs. Laura K. Stewart and Leslie McLaughlin at Louisiana State University. She was awarded a coveted NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein (T32) Postdoctoral fellowship at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center, where she continued her training under the mentorship of Drs. Christopher D. Morrison, Yourka Tchoukalova and Timothy S. Church. Dr. Henagan’s current research focuses on the ability of nutrition and exercise to mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic derangement, hallmarks in the pathogenesis of obesity and type 2 diabetes. Dr. Henagan uses both clinical and animal models to investigate the programming of mitochondrial adaptation in lean, insulin sensitive or obese, insulin resistant statesElucidating mechanisms whereby various nutritional and exercise interventions alter the chromatin state and crosstalk between nuclear and mitochondrial compartments are current and future areas of interest.

Barbara StefanskaDr. Barbara Stefanska joined as an Assistant Professor. Dr. Stefanska  completed her MS and PhD in biomedical sciences at Medical University of Lodz, Poland followed by a postdoctoral training in the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. During her PhD, Dr. Stefanska explored epigenetic effects of bioactive food components such as retinoic acid, vitamin D and resveratrol in cancer prevention and support of chemotherapy with nucleoside analogues. She discovered that these natural compounds reverse DNA methylation-mediated silencing of tumor suppressor genes causing impairment in cancer growth. Dr. Stefanska continued her record of excellence as a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Moshe Szyf’s lab at McGill where she established an epigenomic-transcriptomic signature of liver cancer and a functional map of this signature. She has defined the role of a methyl-CpG binding domain protein 2 (MBD2) in the hepatic cancer epigenome and MBD2 knockdown as a promising new therapy for liver cancer. Further study led to the discovery of a set of novel cancer candidate genes and proved their functional role in different types of cancer and in vivo. This innovative research has the potential to change liver cancer treatment and save lives across the globe. As a new faculty member at Purdue, Dr. Barbara Stefanska will contribute to three signature areas of the Nutrition Science Department: cancer prevention, obesity, and botanicals and bioactives for health. Her research will focus on elucidating epigenetic mechanisms mediating the beneficial effects of vitamins and polyphenols in cancer prevention, cancer therapy and type 2 diabetes as well as on identifying epigenetic biomarkers for solid tumors including ovarian, breast, and liver cancers.

Jon CareyJon Carey, MS, CSCS, CPT joined the Nutrition Science Department in August as a Continuing Lecturer and is currently teaching Health and Kinesiology courses. Prior to coming to Purdue, Jon was an instructor in the Health and Human Performance Department at Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln, Nebraska. He also instructed several Exercise Science courses and was employed as a Biomechanics Lab Technician at the University of Nebraska’s Omaha (UNO) campus. During this time, he also maintained a successful personal training practice. Beyond teaching, Jon’s interests are in the areas of exercise for special populations groups, particularly the elderly and those afflicted with COPD and MS. He has also conducted several research projects on elastic loading-based resistance training in adult and youth populations, and his thesis focused on this training methodology’s potential for affecting biomechanical markers related to lower extremity sports injury in young female athletes. While at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Jon’s projects received funding from NASA and several competitive University-based programs. Jon completed his BS in Communications at Northwest Missouri State University in Maryville, Missouri and his MS in Exercise Science at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He is a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist through the National Strength and Conditioning Association and a Certified Personal Trainer through the American Council on Exercise.

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2013 Indiana State Fair MyPlate and Beyond

State Fair Exhbit 1Visitors to the To MyPlate and Beyond exhibit at the Indiana State Fair this year were greeted by Max and his dog, Munch, to explore ways to eat well. This interactive exhibit illustrated the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s tool that emphasizes the five food groups that are part of a healthy diet. The exhibit, which made its debut last year, was expanded to include a dine-in and drive-thru restaurant to provide tips on proper portions. State Fair 2The grocery store section featured many new activities including electronic games to fill up your cup with calcium-rich foods and a grocery cart to select foods that are made from grain. Purdue Extension educators were able to answer questions and assist over 6,600 visitors in completing the exhibit scavenger hunt which contained questions about MyPlate. The exhibit, which is sponsored by the American Dairy Association and Indiana's Dairy Farm Families, will be traveling to several locations throughout the country over the next year.

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In this issue:

:: Upcoming Department Events

:: Farewell to Marilyn McCammack

:: Welcome to Nutrition Science

:: 2013 Indiana State Fair MyPlate and Beyond



The Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University is recognized nationally for its vital research contributions to disease prevention and health promotion as well as its outstanding academic programs. We are a rapidly growing department with special strengths in:

:: Calcium, vitamin D,
and bone

:: Botanicals and Bioactives for Health

:: Appetite, Metabolism and Obesity

:: Cancer prevention


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Department of
Nutrition Science
Stone Hall, Room 213
700 West State Street
West Lafayette, IN

Tel: (765) 494-8228
Fax: (765) 494-0674