Jenifer Fenton

Jenifer Fenton

Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition

Associate Professor

Telephone: 517-353-3342
Fax: 517-353-8963

G. M. Trout FSHN Building
469 Wilson Rd, Rm 208B
East Lansing MI 48824


MPH, University of Michigan, 2003
PhD, Michigan State University, 1999
MS, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1995
BS, University of Missouri, Columbia, 1993

Instructional Activities

HNF 250 – Contemporary Issues in Human Nutrition
HNF 826 - Obesity and Chronic Disease
HNF 840 - Human Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention
Chair, Nutritional Sciences Curriculum Committee

Research Funding

Current Grant Funding

National Institutes of Health. Title:  Dietary Lipids and Silica-Triggered Autoimmunity Co-investigator. PI- Pestka Co-I Fenton

Lupus Foundation. Title Prevention of Silica-triggered lupus by lipidome modulation. PI- Pestka Co-I Fenton           

Agency for International Development. Title: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance - FANTA III.

USAID. Agency for International Development. Title: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance - FANTA III. Co-I Fenton

Past Grant Funding

USDA Title:  Tandem Mass Spectrometry to Identify Novel Lipid Biomarkers of Obesity.

USAID:US Agency for Intl Development: Title: LEAP proposal.

National Cancer Institute, NIH: Cancer Prevention Research Small Grant Program (R03): Cancer Cause and Prevention. Title: Effect of dietary omega 3 fatty acids on colitis and colon cancer development.

National Cancer Institute, NIH: Cancer Prevention Research Small Grant Program (R03): Cancer Cause and Prevention Research. Title: Biomarkers of Obesity, Inflammation and Colon Cancer.

National Cancer Institute, NIH: Cancer Prevention Research Small Grant Program (R03): Cancer Cause and Prevention Research. Title: Adipokines regulate colon epithelial cell homeostasis.

Research Interests

Role of diet modulating inflammation and diseases of over- and under- nutrition.

The focus of our research is to understand the role of dietary patterns and nutrients in disease risk, in particular fatty acids.  We have three focus areas of research: 1) understand how obesity modulates lipid metabolism and influences colon cancer risk, 2) understand the role of fatty acids in health and disease including the characterization of essential fatty acid deficiency in developing countries and the association with growth stunting and cognition, and 3) quantify the fatty acid profile of food sources. She also teaches the sophomore class at the undergraduate level and teaches a graduate course in nutrition and chronic disease prevention. She has won awards for study abroad service and distinguished contributions to honors college students.

Recent Publications

1) Adjepong M, Yakah W, Harris WS, Annan R, Pontifex M and Fenton JI. Whole blood n-3 fatty acids are associated with executive function in 2–6-year-old Northern Ghanaian children.  J Nutr Biochem. 2018 57;287–293. 

2) Ezeamama AE, Guwatudde D, Sikorskii A, Kabagambe EK, Fenton JI, Wafaie Fawzi. Dysregulated ferritin, anemia severity and persistence in relation to clinical outcomes among HIV-infected Adults from Uganda – A prospective Cohort Study. Nutrients. 2018 Apr 12;10(4). 

3) Adjepong M, Jain R, Harris WS, Annan R, and Fenton JI. Association of whole blood n-6 fatty acids with stunting in 2-to-6-year-old Northern Ghanaian children: A cross-sectional study. PlosOne. 2018. Mar 1;13(3):e0193301. 

4) Jain R, Pickens CA and Fenton JI. The role of the lipidome in obesity-mediated cancer risk. J of Nutr Biochem. 2018 Mar 2;59:1-9. 

5) Valentini K, Wiesinger JA, Harris WS, and Fenton JI. The effect of fish oil supplementation on brain DHA and EPA content and fatty acid profile in mice. Intl J Food Sci and Nutr. 2017 Dec 18:1-13. 

6) Davidson EA, Pickens CA and Fenton JI. Increasing dietary EPA+DHA influences estimated fatty acid desaturase activity in systemic organs reflected by red blood cell desaturase estimates in Mice. Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2017 Jul 11:1-9. 

7) Pickens CA, Vasquez A, Jones AD and Fenton JI. Obesity, adipokines, and C-peptide are associated with distinct plasma phospholipid profiles in adult males, an untargeted lipidomic approach. Sci Rep. 2017 Jul 24;7(1):6335. 

8) Ford C, Chang S, Vitolins M, Fenton JI, Howard BV, Rhee J, Stefanick M, Chen B, Linda Snetselaar L, Urrutia R, and Frazier-Wood A. Evaluation of diet pattern and weight gain in postmenopausal women enrolled in the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study. Br J Nutr. 2017. May; 16:1-10. 

9) Adjepong M, Valentini K, Pickens CA, Li W, Appaw W, and Fenton JI. Quantification of fatty acid and mineral levels of selected seeds, nuts, and oils in Ghana. J Food Compost Anal. 2017. June; 59:43-49 

10) Pickens CA, Sordillo LM, Zhang C and Fenton JI. Obesity is positively associated with arachidonic acid-derived 5- and 11-hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acid (HETE). Metabolism, 2017. May; 70:177-191. 

11) Pickens CA, Pereira, Mariana de Fatima Albuquerque and Fenton JI. Long-chain ω-6 plasma phospholipid polyunsaturated fatty acids and association with colon adenomas in adult men: a cross-sectional study. European J Cancer Prevention. 2017. Nov; 26(6):497-505 

12) Jumbe T, Comstock SS, Harris WS, Kinabo J, Pontifex M and Fenton JI. Whole blood PUFA is positively associated and saturated fat is inversely associated with executive function in Tanzanian children aged four to six years: a cross-sectional study. Br J of Nutr. 2016. November; 116(9):1537-1545. 

13) Fenton JI, Gurzell EA, Davidson EA, and Harris WS. Red blood cell PUFAs reflect the phospholipid PUFA composition of major organs. Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2016. Sep; 112:12-23. 

14) Jumbe T, Pickens CA, Valentini K, Adjepong M, Li W, Kinabo, J and Fenton JI. Evaluation of fatty acid and mineral content of local Tanzanian oils and seeds. J Food Composition Anal. 2016. July; 50:108–113 

15) Jumbe T, Comstock, SS Hahn S, Harris WS, Kinabo, J and Fenton JI. Whole Blood Levels of the n-6 essential fatty acid linoleic acid are inversely associated with stunting in 2-to-6-Year-Old tanzanian children: A cross-sectional study. PLoS One. 2016 May 3;11(5):e0154715. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0154715. eCollection 2016. 

16) Pickens CA, Matsuo K and Fenton JI. Relationship between body mass index, C-peptide, and delta-5-desaturase enzyme activity estimates in adult males. PLoS One. 2016 Mar 29;11(3):e0149305. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0149305. eCollection 2016. 

17) Pickens CA, Lane-Elliot A, Comstock SS, and Fenton JI. Altered saturated and monounsaturated plasma phospholipid fatty acid profiles in adult males with colon adenomas.  Cancer Epidemiology Biomarkers and Prevention. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2016 Mar;25(3):498-506 

18) Teague H, Harris M, Whelan J, Comstock SS, Fenton JI, and Shaikh SR. Short-term consumption of n-3 PUFAs increases murine IL-5 levels but IL-5 is not the mechanistic link between n-3 fatty acids and changes in B cell populations. J Nutr Biochem. 2016 Feb; 28:30-6.