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Jennifer Shea - PhD. Student, BSc. Biology (Honors)

    I began my undergraduate degree at Mount Allison University in Sackville, NB in 1999 (BSc. Hons. in Biology, Minor in Chemistry). Under the supervision of Dr. Suzie Currie, I completed research in the area of environmental fish physiology. My passion for research developed during this time and after taking a year away from academics to travel, I began my PhD. in Human Genetics in the Sun Lab in 2005.

    My current research involves studying the underlying endocrine, nutritional and genetic causes of obesity. I am involved in two major studies in this regard. I have been involved in an overfeeding study in our lab to better understand the biochemical and genetic changes that are evident under conditions of a positive energy challenge. Specifically, I was able to identify six genes that were differentially expressed in lean males compared to obese males in response to a one week hypercaloric diet. These genes represent valuable pharmaceutical targets for downstream work related to obesity. I am also involved in an ongoing genetic association study that to date has recruited over 2000 subjects. From this study, I have identified a number of gene polymorphisms that are correlated with body composition phenotypes as well as characteristics of the metabolic syndrome.


Shea JL, Loredo-Osti JC, Sun G. Genetic variation in the visfatin gene is associated with insulin resistance in the Newfoundland population. In preparation.

Shea JL, Green K, Kennedy A, Wang P, Sun G. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome in obese subjects defined by BMI and dual energy x-ray absorptiometry. In preparation.

Green KK, Shea JL, Vasdev S, Randell E, Gulliver W, Sun G. Higher dietary protein intake is associated with lower body fat in the Newfoundland population. Submitted January 2009. Under review.

Shea JL, Loredo-Osti JC, Sun G. Association of RBP4 gene variants and serum HDL cholesterol levels in the Newfoundland population. Obesity 2009. In press. 

Kennedy A, Shea JL, Sun G. Accuracy of BMI to estimate obesity: A parallel comparison with dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry in the Newfoundland population. Obesity 2009 advance online publication April 2009. doi: 10.1038/oby.2009.101.

Shea J, French CR, Bishop J, Martin G, Roebothan B, Pace D, Fitzpatrick D, Sun G. Changes in the transcriptome of abdominal subcutaneous adipose tissue in response to short term overfeeding in lean and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr 2009 89:407-15.

Shea J, Randell E, Vasdev S, Wang P, Sun G. Serum retinol-binding protein 4 concentrations in response to short term overfeeding in normal weight, overweight and obese men. Am J Clin Nutr. 2007. 86 (5): 1310-5.