Alison Keenan

Alison Keenan
  • GGNB Alumni

Class of 2012
Major Professor: John Newman

The research focus in the laboratory of my mentor is the development and application of targeted metabolomics to the study of obesity, its associated metabolic dysfunctions, and their response to nutritional intervention. Metabolomics data must be placed in a biological context for these profiles to improve our understanding of diet-disease interactions. Quantifying metabolic cascades of known compounds promotes our ability to translate findings into biological context. As a graduate student in the Newman laboratory, I seek not only to define metabolic phenotypes, but to also bridge these with their biological relevance at the cellular level. To do this, my dissertation research will examine omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) in the diet, and their impacts on adipose physiology in vivo and in vitro. Moreover, I believe that metabolic profiling will be a useful tool to elucidate individual variability in responses to nutritional stress, and exploring this tool to understand metabolic predispositions to nutritionally responsive diseases is a long term goal.

Before I came to UC Davis I studied analytical chemistry at City University of New York, John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In particular, I focused in forensic toxicology for my BS. In the long run, I’d like to create sustainable and long-term undergraduate research programs in underrepresented institutions.