Whelan Returns to Faculty After Devoting Nineteen Years as Nutrition Department Head

by Rebekah Goode
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Jay Whelan and a person with long brown hair are conversing in a laboratory. They both are wearing white lab coats. Whelan is wearing white button-down shirt with a red tie and is holding a stack of papers.

Jay Whelan in the Department of Nutrition located in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, is returning to research faculty after devoting nineteen years as the department head effective August 1.

Jay WhelanWhelan is a lipid biochemist by training with an expertise in lipid metabolism as it relates to acute and chronic diseases with more than 90 peer-reviewed publications. His research examines the relationship between a variety of cancers and the cellular and biomolecular effects of dietary fats. There is a specific focus on omega-3 and omega-6 fats, primarily arachidonic acid, and their effects on tumor progression from benign forms to metastatic cancer.

Whelan joined the department in 1991 where he began his career in the Department of Nutrition at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, as an assistant professor and advanced to full professor by 2001. He has served as department head for the last 19 years in the department. He founded and directed the University of Tennessee Affymetrix Microarray Core Facility from 2003-2013. He served a dual role as department head of Nutrition and administrative head of the Department of Public Health from 2008-2010 and again from 2018-2020. Since 2002, Whelan has been the Administrative Director of the University of Tennessee’s Jessie Harris Building Animal Research Facility and was co-director of the University of Tennessee Genomics Core Facility from 2013-2016.

While a search to fill the position is conducted by the college, Brynn Voy will serve as interim department head. Voy is a professor of animal science from the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture, and is also an associate professor of Molecular Genetics and Systems Biology in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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