Thomas Whisenhunt, MD, PhD

TWhisenhunt-105x150Thomas Whisenhunt completed an undergraduate degree in Cell Biology from San Diego State University and a Master of Science in Molecular Biology at the University of California at San Diego. Dr. Whisenhunt received his Doctor of Medicine in conjunction with a Doctor of Philosophy in Cellular Biology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

As a child, he loved science and - since the age of seven - knew he wanted to be a surgeon. Tom honed his focus on neurosurgery as a specialty during his first year of medical school. As an undergraduate, Tom became interested in DNA transcription and the regulatory role of gene expression in development and disease. During the course of his PhD research, he studied O-Glycosylation as a transcriptional regulator. His foremost goal is to explore the stress response pathway and methods of modifying this phenomenon so that ultimately, patients' outcomes are improved.

Dr. Whisenhunt is currently completing his neurosurgical training as a resident, and, in the course of his elective work, has returned to the laboratory. His ongoing research evaluates specific disease processes in animal models in preparation for conducting future clinical trials.

In summary, his discoveries in the lab are applicable in several different diseases in which ischemia and/or trauma affect the nervous system. Once these basic studies are completed, Dr. Whisenhunt will be prepared to initiate and carry out clinical trials that will give patients and their families hope for a better future.

Publications

Whisenhunt TR, Yang X, Bowe D, Paterson AJ, Van Tine BA, Kudlow JE. Disrupting the enzyme complex regulating O-GlcNAcylation blocks signaling and development. Glycobiology. 2006 Jun; 16(6):551-63. Epub 2006 Feb 27.

Toleman C, Paterson AJ, Whisenhunt TR, Kudlow JE. Characterization of the histone acetyltransferase (HAT) domain of a bifunctional protein with activatable O-GlcNAcase and HAT activities. J Biol Chem. 2004 Dec 17; 279(51):53665-73. Epub 2004 Oct 12.

Cobbs CS, Whisenhunt TR, Wesemann DR, Harkins LE, Van Meir EG, Samanta M. Inactivation of wild-type p53 protein function by reactive oxygen and nitrogen species in malignant glioma cells. Cancer Res. 2003 Dec 15; 63(24):8670-3.

Bermingham JR Jr, Shumas S, Whisenhunt T, Sirkowski EE, O'Connell S, Scherer SS, Rosenfeld MG. Identification of genes that are down regulated in the absence of the POU domain transcription factor pou3f1 (Oct-6, Tst-1, SCIP) in sciatic nerve. J Neurosci. 2002 Dec 1; 22(23):10217-31.

Bermingham JR Jr, Shumas S, Whisenhunt T, Rosenfeld MG, Scherer SS. Modification of representational difference analysis applied to the isolation of forskolin-regulated genes from Schwann cells. J Neurosci Res. 2001 Mar 15; 63(6):516-24.

Erkman L, Yates PA, McLaughlin T, McEvilly RJ, Whisenhunt T, O'Connell SM, Krones AI, Kirby MA, Rapaport DH, Bermingham JR, O'Leary DD, Rosenfeld MG. A POU domain transcription factor-dependent program regulates axon path finding in the vertebrate visual system. Neuron. 2000 Dec; 28(3):779-92.

Yang X, Bowe D, Sadlonova A, Whisenhunt TR, Hu Y, Rustgi A, Paterson AJ, Kulow JE. O-GlcNAcase Transferase is critical for repression of canonical Wnt signaling via Groucho/TLE. Submitted.