• 1988-1992 PhD Student, East Carolina University School of Medicine, Greenville, NC
  • 1992-1993 Post-doctorate, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, MA
  • 1993-1996 Post-doctoral fellow of the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation at Boston University Medical Center, Boston, MA

Research Interests

A major effort in the laboratory focuses on STAT proteins. These proteins are signaling molecules and transcription factors, which means they control the gene expression in a tissue specific manner. Our laboratory studies the activation and function of STAT proteins in adipocytes. We study adipocytes because this cell type has several functions and if any one of these function is disrupted than Type 2 Diabetes can develop. To date, one of our notable observations is that STAT5 can regulate fat cell development both in vitro and in vivo. We have also identified STAT5 target genes in adipocytes. These genes play a role in insulin action, lipid metabolism and the endocrine properties of fat cells. All of our studies demonstrate that STAT5 is an important transcription factor in adipocytes and can regulate genes associated with Type 2 Diabetes. To further understand the biology of this multifunctional protein, we are identifying other proteins that associate with STAT5 and are studying a mouse model that lacks STAT5 proteins in adipose tissue. We also contribute to the Botanical Research Center at PBRC and have studied several plant extracts with ant-diabetic properties.

Department: Adipocyte Biology

Selected Publications

  1. Harvey, I. and Stephens, J.M. (2021) Artemisia scoparia promotes adipogenesis in the absence of adipogenic effectors. Obesity, in press April 23, 2021. 
  2. Richard, A.J, Hang, H., Allerton, T.A., Zhao, P., Ghosh, S., Elks, C.M. and Stephens, J.M.  Loss of STAT5 in adipocytes increases subcutaneous fat via sex-dependent and depot-specific  pathways. BioRxiv doi:
  3. Sanchez-Infantes, D. and Stephens, J.M. (2021) Adipocyte Oncostatin Receptor regulates adipose tissue homeostasis and inflammation. Frontiers in Immunology,
  4. A Burrell, J.A. and Stephens, J.M. (2021) KAT8, lysine acetyltransferase 8, is required for adipocyte differentiation in vitroBiochem. Biophys. Acta Mol. Basis Dis. 1867 (6) 16603.
  5. Allerton, T.D., Savoie, J., Fitch, M.D. Hellerstein, M.K., Stephens, J.M., and White, U.A. (2021) Exercise reduced the formation of new adipocytes in the adipose tissue of mice in vivo. PLOS One, 16(1):e0244804.