Wendy A. Henderson, PhD, CRNP, FAASLD, FAAN
Gail and Ralph Reynolds President’s Distinguished Professor
Wendy A. Henderson, PhD, CRNP, FAASLD, FAAN, joins Penn Nursing from the University of Connecticut where she held a joint appointment as Professor in the School of Nursing and the School of Medicine. Henderson most recently served as director of the PhD program at the School of Nursing and before that was director of the school’s Center of Nursing Scholarship and Innovation. Henderson was previously a clinical investigator and lab chief of the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), Digestive Disorders Unit, Division of Intramural Research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases.
We prepare the next generation of diverse clinical and translational scholars to use disruptive technologies to improve patient outcomes with a specific interest in Nutrition, Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Genomics.
- PhD, University of Pittsburgh, 2007
- MSN, Health Promotion and Development, Pediatrics, University of Pittsburgh, 1999
- BSN, University of Pittsburgh, 1994
Dr. Henderson co-invented multiple patents involved in nucleic acid detection and signatures of genetic control in digestive and liver disorders. Additionally, she has developed digital technologies that allow for subjective and objective real world data capture of persons symptoms.
Dr. Henderson’s greatest joy is seeing the success of others–especially her mentees and collaborators as they conquer social injustice and focus on health equity for all persons.
Dr. Henderson has a long history of teaching and mentorship initially as a Clinical Faculty member at the School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh, teaching medical students common gastrointestinal problems. She later taught at Duquesne University undergraduate and nurse practitioner students. While at the NIH, Henderson founded and lead a clinical and translational postdoctoral fellowship program, developed a microbiome and immunology course, and taught in the Summer Genetics Institute and Summer Boot Camps sponsored by the NINR. At the University of Connecticut, Dr. Henderson taught statistical methods, theoretical applications, and grant writing in the PhD Program and was on the Executive board for the Master of Science in Clinical and Translational Research Program.
As a primary investigator on multiple funded studies, Dr. Henderson studies brain–gut-liver microbiota axis and chronic effects of stress on intestinal health across the lifespan in human, murine, and cellular models. She co-developed the Gastrointestinal Pain Pointer technology to provide clinicians with a more integrated tool for GI symptom assessment–one that includes location, intensity, quality, and physiologic parameters. Through a brain-gut natural history study, Dr. Henderson’s team also assesses brain-gut-liver interactions in normal weight and overweight persons with chronic abdominal pain of unknown origin.
Dr. Henderson is a certified registered nurse practitioner, with a subspecialty in pediatric gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutrition. While at the NIH, she served as a consultant on the NIH medical staff for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition for ten years (2009-2019).
Selected Career Highlights
Dr. Henderson obtained a PhD from the University of Pittsburgh, focused on quality of life in persons living with HIV and liver disease. She completed a Patient Safety Fellowship, through the Jewish Healthcare Foundation. Her first postdoctoral experience was at the Pittsburgh VA and University of Pittsburgh Medical School as a Clinical and Translational Science Institute Fellow training in big data. She was then recruited for a second postdoctoral training as a Staff Scientist at the NIH where she trained in immuno-genetics related to gastroenterology, hepatology, and nutritional disorders. Dr. Henderson was appointed as an Assistant Clinical Investigator in 2009 and then was appointed as a Lab Chief in the NINR Division of Intramural Research in 2011 at the NIH.
Dr. Henderson has served as a member of the NIH Women Scientist Advisors Committee, the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act, the American Gastroenterological Association Future Leaders and Equity Task Force and is current chair of the American Association for the Study of Liver Diseases Research Awards Committee. Among other awards, Dr. Henderson has received Director’s Awards from the NIH in Innovation, Leadership, and Diversity.