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.