Dr. Langkamp-Henken worked for six years as a hospital dietitian before she pursued a doctorate in gastrointestinal physiology and a postdoctoral fellowship in immunology from the University of Tennessee Health Science Center. Currently, Dr. Langkamp-Henken is a Professor in the Food Science and Human Nutrition Department. Her main research interest is to develop novel approaches to examine the effect of dietary interventions on health outcomes in healthy children and adults. Ongoing interventional studies explore the impact of whole foods, fermentable fibers, and probiotics on gastrointestinal and immunological functions important for maintaining health and quality of life. Dr. Langkamp-Henken also teaches a two-semester graduate research planning course and serves as Graduate Coordinator for the doctoral program in Nutritional Sciences.
The goal of the Henken lab is to develop novel approaches to examine dietary modulation of gastrointestinal and immune function in the maintenance of overall health and wellbeing of children and adults. Animal studies demonstrate that immune function can be modulated by dietary intake; however, these effects are subtle and difficult to measure in healthy humans. Stressful periods of life, such as during academic exams, or advanced age, are times when diet-induced changes in gastrointestinal and immune function may be more easily measured. Current studies examine the impact of select nutrients, fiber, and probiotics on intestinal and immune health.