Dr. Tappenden received her B.S. and Ph.D. in Nutrition and Metabolism at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada. Dr. Tappenden is also a Registered Dietitian, having completed clinical training at the Misericordia Hospital in Edmonton, Alberta. After completing a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Texas-Houston Medical School, she joined the faculty at UIUC in August 1997 as an Assistant Professor of Nutrition. In 2003, she was promoted to Associate Professor with indefinite tenure.
Dr. Tappenden enjoys teaching within her own laboratory, advanced undergraduate and graduate nutrition courses. While working in Dr. Tappenden’s research group, many of her colleagues-in-training have received prestigious awards from the University of Illinois, the American Society of Nutritional Sciences and the American Society of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition. Dr. Tappenden works mostly on academic programs as an Associate Dean of the Graduate College. For her efforts in the classroom, Dr. Tappenden has been listed on the University of Illinois Incomplete List Of Teachers Ranked As Excellent by Their Students nine times in the past eleven years. In 2004, Dr. Tappenden was appointed to the University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences Academy of Teaching Excellence.
Regulation of small intestinal function by various nutrients and gastrointestinal-specific peptides.
Dr. Tappenden's research program is directed at achieving a greater understanding of the regulation of small intestinal function by various nutrients and gastrointestinal-specific peptides. Through the use of preclinical animal models simulating necrotizing enterocolitis, short bowel syndrome, diarrheal diseases (Salmonella typhimurium), and specialized nutrition support (enteral and parenteral nutrition) structural and functional adaptation of the intestine are explored. A necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC) neonatal piglet model is used to examine cellular mechanisms and regulation of nutrient processing within the compromised intestine. As many patients who develop NEC currently undergo intestinal resection, resulting in a condition known as short bowel syndrome (SBS), the lab also focuses on understanding the mechanisms whereby short-chain fatty acids, the products of dietary fiber fermentation, modulate intestinal adaptation during short bowel syndrome. Other scientific contributions include the identification of cellular and functional markers of intestinal adaptation that can be used to assess the efficacy of therapeutic strategies for humans with SBS. Ultimately, these research efforts will optimize the quality of life for individuals with intestinal failure.