Featured Researcher Dr. Donald B. JumpDonald B. Jump is Professor and Director of the Bionutrition Laboratory in the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Science and a Principal Investigator in the Linus Pauling Institute. He began working at OSU in March 2007. Previously, he was a Professor in the Departments of Physiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University (MSU), East Lansing, MI. He earned his Ph.D. degree in biochemistry from Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. He was a NIH postdoctoral fellow at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, MN, Department of Medicine, Section of Endocrinology and Metabolism.

My Research

My research focuses on dietary fat and carbohydrate regulation of hepatic gene expression. I began this research back in the mid-1980's when nutrient effects on gene expression were thought to be secondary to nutrient regulation of hormone secretion, e.g., insulin. Studies in my laboratory, however, provided the first evidence that certain dietary fats controlled the expression of hepatic genes involved in carbohydrate and lipid metabolism. Today, the concept of nutrient control of gene expression is widely accepted. Many macronutrients, including cholesterol, fatty acids, glucose & amino acids, control major metabolic pathways at the level of gene expression. The effect of nutrients on gene expression represents one of the multiple mechanisms by which nutrients affect our various physiological functions. Our research on dietary fat regulation of gene expression has particular relevance to human health because the amount and type of fat we ingested significantly impacts our health through effects on cell function.

We have defined several mechanisms by which dietary fats control hepatic gene expression. Most of this control is exerted at the level of gene transcription and involves several transcription factors. Some fatty acid-regulated transcription factors are nuclear receptors, like peroxisome proliferator activated receptors. Other fatty acid-regulated transcription factors do not bind fatty acids, per se. Instead, fatty acids regulate the nuclear abundance of these transcription factors, e.g., sterol regulatory element binding protein-1, carbohydrate regulatory element binding protein and Max-like factor-X. Controlling the nuclear abundance of these factors determines their impact on gene transcription.

Our current research focus is on defining changes in hepatic lipid and carbohydrate metabolism that occur in chronic diseases, like diabetes (NIDDM) and obesity. These metabolic disorders alter hepatic lipid metabolism and blood lipid composition, and predispose the patient to atherosclerosis. Metabolic disorders, like insulin resistance and dyslipidemia, are common problems in the aging population. In our view, changes in hepatic metabolism may exacerbate the severity of the disease. As such, our studies are focused on defining how changes in hepatic carbohydrate and lipid metabolism contribute to the progression of chronic metabolic diseases. The outcome of these studies may provide novel therapeutic strategies for these diseases.

Current funded research:
Title: Dietary fat regulation of hepatic gene expression.
Funding agency: National Institutes of Health-NIDDK.
Funding period: April 1, 2005-March 31, 2010.