Dr. Jason Tennessen - Post-Doctoral Research Associate
5260 Eccles Institut
Dr. Jason Tennessen has been a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Human Genetics at the University of Utah School of Medicine since 2007, where he uses the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model to study metabolic diseases. He has coauthored multiple studies that describe how evolutionarily conserved genetic regulators control both fat and carbohydrate metabolism, and has discovered that developing juvenile flies depend on the same metabolic program used by proliferating cancer cells.
Dr. Tennessen received a B.A. from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisconsin and his Ph.D. in Genetics and Developmental Biology from the University of Minnesota. His thesis research, which explored the relationship between environmental stress and animal maturation, was awarded a University of Minnesota Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship.
Dr. Tennessen is collaborating with Dr. Orly Alter and the SCI Institute as part of a K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute of Health. Jason is using this award to develop new research projects based on innovative computational tools developed by Dr. Alter.
Jason's research uses the fruit fly Drosophila to understand the genetic mechanisms that regulate aerobic glycolysis–the unique metabolic program commonly used by proliferating cancer cells. This area of research remains relatively unexplored in the context of model organism genetics, and provides an unusual opportunity to establish a new system for studying cancer metabolism. Under the guidance of Dr. Alter, Jason is integrating systems biology and the emerging field of metabolomics with the unparalleled genetic tools that are available in Drosophila. Dr. Tennessen's cross-disciplinary approach not only explores how animals use nutrients to growth but also has the aim of uncovering how cell metabolism supports tumor growth.