Jessica Cannavino, Ph.D. is an Instructor in the Department of Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center and a member of its Touchstone Diabetes Center.  

Originally from Italy, Dr. Cannavino earned her doctorate in physiology and neuroscience from the University of Pavia, where she studied skeletal muscle adaptations to disuse in human and animal models.  Her main graduate work led to the discovery that mitochondria dysfunction is a significant trigger of muscle mass loss in the setting of disuse-induced atrophy. 

During her postdoctoral training in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Olson at UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dr. Cannavino continued to contribute to the understanding of skeletal muscle biology by characterizing novel genes essential for muscle development and adult muscle innervation.  Most recently, she discovered a novel RNA binding protein essential for brown adipose tissue thermogenic function.

Dr. Cannavino joined the laboratory of Dr. Rana Gupta in the Touchstone Diabetes Center as an instructor in the Spring of 2021. 

Dr. Cannavino is passionate about STEM education and has been involved in several outreach events in high school and community colleges in the DFW area.  When not in the lab she enjoys running, yoga, and spending time with her family.

Research Interest

  • Adipose Tissue Plasticity
  • Branched Chain Amino Acid Metabolism
  • RNA Metabolism
  • Skeletal Muscle Plasticity


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

Cellular and molecular brakes on adipogenesis.
Cannavino J, Gupta RK, Nat Metab 2022 Jan 4 1 13-14
Regulation of cold-induced thermogenesis by the RNA binding protein FAM195A.
Cannavino J, Shao M, An YA, Bezprozvannaya S, Chen S, Kim J, Xu L, McAnally JR, Scherer PE, Liu N, Gupta RK, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN, Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2021 Jun 118 23
A defect in myoblast fusion underlies Carey-Fineman-Ziter syndrome.
Di Gioia SA, Connors S, Matsunami N, Cannavino J, Rose MF, Gilette NM, Artoni P, de Macena Sobreira NL, Chan WM, Webb BD, Robson CD, Cheng L, Van Ryzin C, Ramirez-Martinez A, Mohassel P, Leppert M, Scholand MB, Grunseich C, Ferreira CR, Hartman T, Hayes IM, Morgan T, Markie DM, Fagiolini M, Swift A, Chines PS, Speck-Martins CE, Collins FS, Jabs EW, Bönnemann CG, Olson EN, Carey JC, Robertson SP, Manoli I, Engle EC Nat Commun 2017 07 8 16077
Control of muscle formation by the fusogenic micropeptide myomixer.
Bi P, Ramirez-Martinez A, Li H, Cannavino J, McAnally JR, Shelton JM, Sánchez-Ortiz E, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN Science 2017 04 356 6335 323-327
Severe muscle wasting and denervation in mice lacking the RNA-binding protein ZFP106.
Anderson DM, Cannavino J, Li H, Anderson KM, Nelson BR, McAnally J, Bezprozvannaya S, Liu Y, Lin W, Liu N, Bassel-Duby R, Olson EN Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 2016 08 113 31 E4494-503
Human skeletal muscle fibre contractile properties and proteomic profile: adaptations to 3 weeks of unilateral lower limb suspension and active recovery.
Brocca L, Longa E, Cannavino J, Seynnes O, de Vito G, McPhee J, Narici M, Pellegrino MA, Bottinelli R J. Physiol. (Lond.) 2015 Dec 593 24 5361-85
The role of alterations in mitochondrial dynamics and PGC-1a over-expression in fast muscle atrophy following hindlimb unloading.
Cannavino J, Brocca L, Sandri M, Grassi B, Bottinelli R, Pellegrino MA J. Physiol. (Lond.) 2015 Apr 593 8 1981-95
PGC1-a over-expression prevents metabolic alterations and soleus muscle atrophy in hindlimb unloaded mice.
Cannavino J, Brocca L, Sandri M, Bottinelli R, Pellegrino MA J. Physiol. (Lond.) 2014 Oct 592 20 4575-89
The time course of the adaptations of human muscle proteome to bed rest and the underlying mechanisms.
Brocca L, Cannavino J, Coletto L, Biolo G, Sandri M, Bottinelli R, Pellegrino MA J. Physiol. (Lond.) 2012 Oct 590 20 5211-30