Matthew Jenny

Associate Professor
Phone: (205) 348-8225
Dr. Jenny’s lab webpage

Matthew Jenny received a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology and Pathobiology from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2005. He completed his postdoctoral research at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Dr. Jenny was appointed Assistant Professor at the University of Alabama in 2008, and Associate Professor in 2015.

Research Interests

My primary interests are in the field of functional genomics and molecular toxicology. I am broadly interested in factors influencing the evolution and control of transcriptional regulatory networks, as well as mechanisms of molecular adaptation to environmental stressors and ‘systems biology’ approaches to constructing genome-wide models of genetic regulation of environmental and ecological responses.

Evolution of transcription regulatory networks

My lab studies the interactive roles of several transcription factors (MTF-1, NRF2, HIF-1a, AHR) that have dual roles in basic developmental processes and also serve as master regulators of a variety of different stress-response pathways. We are interested in the role of these transcription factors in regulating both protein coding genes and microRNA genes. Zebrafish is the main model organism we use for this research because results obtained in this system have direct relevance to humans. A key advantage of zebrafish is the external development of nearly transparent embryos which facilitates direct observation of all stages of embryonic development. We use a variety of molecular approaches to accomplish our research: quantitative PCR, microarray gene expression profiling, targeted gene knockdown with antisense morpholinos, creation of transient and stable transgenics, promoter/enhancer functional analysis, and mapping of regulatory elements.

Environmental and ecological genomics

My lab works with a variety of freshwater and marine fish and invertebrates to study the evolution of metallothionein proteins, metal-binding proteins responsible for essential metal homeostasis and heavy metal detoxification. We have broad interests in molecular mechanisms which regulate metal homeostasis and convey metal tolerance, as well as mechanisms for ameliorating oxidative stress related to environmental pressures. We also utilize molecular and genomic techniques to investigate mechanisms of defense and tolerance in response to other environmental stressors (natural and anthropogenic). The incorporation of genomic-based research into traditional ecological models allows us to study and understand the physiological processes of organisms and their adaptation to specific ecological niches at the most fundamental levels.


Selected Publications

MJ Jenny, SI Karchner, D Franks, BR Woodin, JJ Stegeman, ME Hahn. 2009. Distinct roles of two zebrafish AHR repressors (AHRRa and AHRRb) in embryonic development and regulating the response to TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin). Toxicological Sciences 110: 426-441.

SI Karchner, MJ Jenny, AM Tarrant, BR Evans, HJ Kang, I Bae, DH Sherr, ME Hahn. 2008. The active form of human aryl hydrocarbon receptor repressor (lacks exon 8 and its Pro185 and Ala185 variants repress both AHR and HIF. Molecular and Cellular Biology 29: 3465-3477.

RP Lang, CJ Bayne, MD Camara, C Cunningham, MJ Jenny, CJ Langdon. 2009. Transcriptome Profiling of Selectively-Bred Pacific Oyster Crassostrea gigas Families that Differ in Tolerance of Heat Shock. Marine Biotechnology 11: 650-658.

CW Matson, BW Clark, MJ Jenny, CR Fleming, ME Hahn, RT Di Giulio. 2008. Development of the morpholino gene knockdown technique in Fundulus heteroclitus: a tool for studying molecular mechanisms in an established environmental model. Aquatic Toxicology 87: 289-295.

MJ Jenny, RW Chapman, A Mancia, YA Chen, DJ McKillen, H Trent, RP Lang, JM Escoubas, E Bachere, V Boulo, ZJ Liu, PS Gross, C Cunningham, PM Cupit, A Tanguy, X Guo, D Moraga, I Boutet, A Huvet, S De Guise, JS Almeida, GW Warr. 2007. A cDNA Microarray for Crassostrea virginica and C. gigas. Marine Biotechnology 9: 577-591.

C Cunningham, J Hikima, MJ Jenny, G Fang, C Saski, RW Chapman, M Lundqvist, R Wing, PM Cupit, PS Gross, GW Warr, J Tomkins. 2006. New Resources for Marine Genomics: BAC Libraries for the Eastern and Pacific oysters (Crassostrea virginica and C. gigas). Marine Biotechnology 8: 521-533.

MJ Jenny, GW Warr, AH Ringwood, DA Baltzegar, RW Chapman. 2006. Regulation of Metallothionein Genes in the American Oyster (Crassostrea virginica): Ontogeny and Differential Expression in Response to Different Stressors. Gene 379: 156-165.

MJ Jenny, AH Ringwood, K Schey, GW Warr, RW Chapman. 2004. Diversity of Metallothioneins in the American oyster, Crassostrea virginica, Revealed by Transcriptomic and Proteomic Approaches. European Journal of Biochemistry 271: 1702-1712.