Dr. Jay Whelan
Jay Whelan, PhD, is a lipid biochemist by training, with an expertise in lipid metabolism as it relates to acute and chronic diseases. Specifically, he is interested in how omega-3 and omega-6 polyunsaturated fats mediate health and disease. Of particular interest are those lipids from fish products (the omega-3 fats) and arachidonic acid, the major dietary antagonist of omega-3 fats. His earlier work focused on how omega-3 fats impact bioactive lipids associated with cardiovascular disease and inflammation. Currently, the research in his laboratory centers on the cellular and biomolecular effects of dietary fats as they relate to a variety of cancers. Specifically, he investigates the effects of omega-3 and omega-6 fats (primarily arachidonic acid) on the growth and development of tumors as they progress from benign forms to metastatic cancers. He has discovered that dietary arachidonic acid can negate the beneficial effects of omaga-3 fats. His research focuses on colorectal cancer, pancreatic cancer, and prostate cancer, but he believes his research can apply to other cancers. He is also interested in establishing human equivalent dosing in rodent diets for polyunsaturated fats to improve translational research in this area, and establishing better data for determining daily intakes of polyunsaturated fats. Dr. Whelan has more than 70 peer-reviewed publications and is the administrative director of both the UT Affymetrix Microarray Core Facility and the Animal Research Facility at the UT Jessie Harris Building. He obtained his PhD in Nutritional Sciences from Penn State in 1988 and his MPH from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1982.