Jenna is from Durango, Colorado, and received a B.S. in Chemistry and a B.A. in Political Science from Fort Lewis College. Originally trained in the field of chemistry, she has extensive experience in biochemistry, signaling pathways, cell biology, and vesicle trafficking. After two years studying the metabolism of a newly identified common soil microorganism Acidobacterium capsulatum, Jenna joined Dr. Debbie Thurmond’s lab as a graduate student at Indiana University. There she made significant findings studying soluble N-ethylmaleimide-sensitive factor activating protein receptor (SNARE) proteins in respect to type 2 diabetes. Jenna’s graduate work focused on how SNARE proteins regulate glucose-stimulated insulin secretion from pancreatic β-cells and peripheral tissue glucose uptake.

Wanting to continue her work in biochemistry, cell signaling, and trafficking, she accepted a Cancer Therapeutics Training Fellowship and The Hartwell Foundation Fellowship at the University of California, San Diego, as a postdoctoral fellow with Dr. Kun-Liang Guan. There, Jenna identified a new signaling cascade, which her lab at UT Southwestern Medical Center is currently working on. 

In March 2015, Jenna joined the faculty at UT Southwestern as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology. She received the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Member award, CPRIT High Impact/ High Risk Research Award, 2017 Distinguished Researcher Award, Dean’s LEAD Program Capstone Project Recognition Award, Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) junior investigator award, and the American Cancer Research Scholar Grant. Jenna is a member of the Hamon Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine and Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Jewell lab focuses on how cells sense nutrients to control cell growth and metabolism, and how these processes are altered in human disease. 




Fort Lewis College (2004), Political Science
Fort Lewis College (2004), Chemistry
Graduate School
Indiana Univ Indianapolis Purd (2010), Molecular Biology
Graduate School
Indiana Univ Indianapolis Purd (2010), Biochemistry

Research Interest

  • Cancer Biology
  • CRISPR Genome Editing
  • Mechanistic Target of Rapamycin
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrient Sensing
  • Signal Transduction


Featured Publications LegendFeatured Publications

RAG-ulating mTORC1 with amino acids.
Jewell JL, Nat Rev Mol Cell Biol 2021 May
Regulation of mTORC1 by Upstream Stimuli.
Melick CH, Jewell JL, Genes (Basel) 2020 08 11 9
A-kinase anchoring protein 8L interacts with mTORC1 and promotes cell growth.
Melick CH, Meng D, Jewell JL, J Biol Chem 2020 06 295 23 8096-8105
Small molecule H89 renders the phosphorylation of S6K1 and AKT resistant to mTOR inhibitors.
Melick CH, Jewell JL, Biochem J 2020 05 477 10 1847-1863
Amino Acid Sensing: Architecture of mTORC1 on the Lysosome Surface.
Peng W, Jewell JL, Curr Biol 2020 01 30 2 R89-R91
Clearing debris.
Meng D, Jewell JL, Nat Chem Biol 2019 08 15 8 760-761


Featured Books Legend Featured Books

Honors & Awards

  • American Cancer Society Research Scholar Award
  • Dean's LEAD Program Capstone Project Recognition Award
  • Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) Junior Investigator Award
  • American Cancer Society - Simmons Cancer Center New Investigator Award
  • President's Research Council Distinguished Researcher Award
  • Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) High-Impact/High-Risk Research Award
  • Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) Scholar Recruitment of First-Time, Tenure-Track Faculty Member
  • The Hartwell Foundation Fellowship
  • Cancer Therapeutics Training Fellowship
  • American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship

Professional Associations/Affiliations

  • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) (2016)
  • ASPET (2020)
  • Center for Regenerative Science and Medicine (CRSM) (2017)
  • Harold C. Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center (2016)