Jenifer Fenton

Jenifer Fenton

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Associate Professor
Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition




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 840 - Human Nutrition and Chronic Disease Prevention
HNF 475/FSC 475 - Global Food Systems and Health Study Abroad

Research Funding

Current Grant Funding

USDA NIFA (Rowat-UCLA) 01/01/2022 to 21/31/2024. Towards scalable production of palatable and nutritious cultured meat using edible, tunable scaffolds. Role: PI of sub-award for fatty acid work.

North Central Graduate Student Grant. Enhancing the polyphenolic content and demand of Upper Midwestern, locally produced beef for the 202. Role: PI/Advisor for graduate student grant.

NIH/NINDS (1R01NS122510 (Ezeamama)): Identifying adolescents at high risk of neurocognitive disorder: Development and validation of a composite risk index. Role: Co-investigator as nutrition expert

GreenAcres Foundation: Greenacres Grass-Fed Beef Nutritional Database. The major goal of this project is to study how altering the feedstuff composition influences the fatty acid/nutritional composition of beef. Role: Nutrient analysis of the beef.

NIH (R01ES027353 (Pestka)): Dietary Lipids and Silica-Triggered Autoimmunity. Role: Co-investigator. Fatty acid expertise.

Past Grant Funding

NIFA (North Central Region SARE) (Rowntree). Enhancing healthfulness and demand of Upper Midwestern, locally-produced beef. Role: Co-investigator

MI Dept of Agriculture/Rural Development (M1254M) (Rowntree). Enhancing healthfulness and demand of Michigan produced beef.  Role: Co-investigator

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

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

According to Google Scholar, Dr. Fenton’s peer-reviewed publications have been cited a total of 2616 times resulting in a h-index of 29. The h-10 index is 56 (the number of manuscripts with 10+ citations). Manuscripts selected from 78 total.

1) Adjepong M, Amoahagyeib F, Du C, Wang W, Fenton JI and Tucker RM. Limited negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on mental health measures of Ghanaian university students. J of Affect Disord Rep 2022 Jan;7:100306. PMID: 35018355

2) Maciel I, Schweihofer, Hodbod J, McKendree M, Cassida K, Fenton JI and Rowntree J. Influence of beef genotypes on animal performance, carcass traits, meat quality and sensory characteristics in grazing or feedlot-finished steers. Anim Sci. 2021 Sep 21;5(4):txab214.  PMID: 34888490Adjepong 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. 

3) Sergin S, Kesanmeni S, Goeden T, Kruski L, Bilter C, Fenton JI. Influence of feeding system, pasture vs conventional, on fatty acid profile and nutritional content of eggs. In press. January, 2021. ACS Food Science & Technology. 1 (2), 260-267.

4) Du C, Zan M, Cho M, Fenton JI, Hsiao PY, Hsiao R, Keaver L, Lai C-C, Lee H, Ludy MJ, Shen W, Swee WCS, Thrivikraman J, Tseng K-W, Tseng W-C, Doak S, Folk S, Tucker RM. The effects of sleep quality and resilience on perceived stress, dietary behaviors, and alcohol misuse: A mediation-moderation analysis of higher education students from Asia, Europe, and North America during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 29;13(2):442. PMID: 33572863

5) Du C, Zan M, Cho M, Fenton JI, Hsiao PY, Hsiao R, Keaver L, Lai C-C, Lee H, Ludy MJ, Shen W, Swee WCS, Thrivikraman J, Tseng K-W, Tseng W-C, Doak S, Folk S, Tucker RM. Health behaviors of higher education students from 7 countries: Poorer sleep quality during the COVID-19 pandemic predicts higher dietary risk. Clocks Sleep. 2021 Jan 15;3(1):12-30. PMID: 33467418

6) Snow SJ, Henriquez AR, Fenton JI, Goeden T, Fisher A, Vallanat B, Richards JE, Schladweiler CE, Cheng W, Wood CE, Tong H, Kodavanti UP. Diets Enriched with Coconut, Fish, or Olive Oil Modify Peripheral Metabolic Effects of Ozone in Rats. Toxicol Appl Pharmacol 2021 Jan 1;410:115337. PMID: 33217375

7) Becker T, Lucas, J, Li W and Fenton, JI. Redesign and Process of Reforming an Existing Nutritional Sciences Program. Adv Physiol Educ. 2020 Dec 1;44(4):570-578. PMID: 32955345

8) Du C, Zan MCH, Cho MJ, Fenton JI, Hsiao PY, Hsiao R, Keaver L, Lai C-C, Lee H, Ludy M-J, Shen W, Swee WCS, Thrivikraman J, Tseng K-W, Tseng W-C, Tucker RM. Increased Resilience Weakens the Relationship between Perceived Stress and Anxiety on Sleep Quality: A Moderated Mediation Analysis of Higher Education Students from 7 Countries. Clocks Sleep. 2020; 2(3):334-353. PMID: 33089208.

9) Jain R, Brokema S, Rowntree J, Schweihofer JP, Bilter C, and Fenton JI. Seasonal differences exist in the PUFA, mineral and antioxidant content of U.S. grass-finished beef. February, 2020. PLoS One. PMID: 32101561.

10) Pickens CA, Yin Z, Sordillo LM, Fenton JI. Arachidonic acid-derived hydroxyeicosatetraenoic acids are positively associated with colon polyps in adult males: a cross-sectional study. Sci Rep. 2019 Aug 19;9(1):12033. PMID: 31427689.

11) Jain R, Ezeamama AE, Sikorskii A, Yakah W, Zalwango S, Musoke P, Boivin MJ, Fenton JI. Serum n-6 Fatty Acids are Positively Associated with Growth in 6-to-10-Year Old Ugandan Children Regardless of HIV Status-A Cross-Sectional Study. Nutrients. 2019 Jun 4;11(6). PMID: 31167445

12) Ezeamama AE, Sikorskii A, Bajwa R, Tuke R, Kyeyune R, Fenton JI, Guwatudde D, Fawzi WW. Evolution of Anemia Types During Antiretroviral Therapy—Implications for Treatment Outcomes and Quality of Life Among HIV-Infected Adults. Nutrients. 2019. Mar 31;11(4). pii: E755. doi: 10.3390/nu11040755. PMID: 30935133

13) Bronkema S, Rowntree J, Jain R, Schweihofer JP, Bilter C, and Fenton JI. A nutritional survey of commercially available grass-finished beef. Meat Science and Muscle Biology. 2019. 3 (1), 116-126. doi:

14) Crouch MJ, Kosaraju R, Guesdon W, Armstrong M, Reisdorph N, Jain R, Fenton JI, and Shaikh SA. Frontline Science: A reduction in DHA-derived mediators in male obesity contributes toward defects in select B cell subsets and circulating antibody. J Leukoc Biol. 2019 Aug;106(2):241-257. PMID30576001.

15) 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. 

16) 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. 

17) 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. 

18) 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. 

19) 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. 

20) 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. 

21) 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 

22) 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. 

23) 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 

24) 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. 

25) 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.