Dr. Brynn Voy 



Dr. Brynn H. Voy

Associate Professor




ANSC 519 - Techniques in Molecular Biology

ANSC 520 - Animal Physiology

ANSC 621-  Advanced Topics in Animal Physiology




2506 River Drive
238 Brehm Animal Science Building
Knoxville, Tennessee 37996
Phone: (865) 974-4729
Fax: (865) 974-7297
email: bhvoy@utk.edu 





Ph.D., University of Tennessee, Physiology, 1996 

B.S., University of Tennessee, Zoology, 1988 

Appointment: 90% Research | 10% Teaching


Professional Interest: Physiology and genomics of obesity

Photo collage of Dr. Voy's research
For very different reasons, identifying new means to reduce fat deposition in juveniles is important for both the broiler chicken industry and for human health. Genetic selection for rapid growth produced commercial broiler lines with marked gains in efficiency of meat production but at the same time inadvertently doubled the deposition of adipose tissue. Excess fat deposition essentially wastes feed, increasing costs to growers during the ~ 7 week window from hatch to market age. Excess fatness also contributes to reduced fertility and immunocompetence that impact both the egg-producing and broiler-breeder segments of the poultry industry. In humans, more than one third of children in the United States are now overweight or obese, which increases their risk of both obesity and its co-morbidities (e.g., hypertension, Type 2 diabetes) as adults (cdc.org). Avians in general are a valuable class of model organisms for studies relevant to adipose tissue lipid metabolism because (unlike rodents) the relative contributions of liver and adipose tissue to triglyceride storage are similar to those in humans. Avians also lack brown adipocytes, creating a model in which to test the impact of diet and other anti-obesity strategies exclusively on white adipocyte (the predominant type of adipocyte in the body) metabolism. Broiler chickens are especially attractive as a model organism for childhood obesity. Like pre-obese children, broiler chicks rapidly deposit fat prior to sexual maturation through a combination of adipocyte hypertrophy and hyperplasia. In addition the diet of the broiler chick can be manipulated at hatch or even in ovo, prior to the development of abdominal adipose tissue, creating the opportunity for early and direct studies into the effect of diet on adipose development. Therefore broiler chickens are not only a livestock species in need of new ways to reduce adipose deposition but also a novel, although underdeveloped, model for studies of childhood obesity.
Current projects in our lab focus on fatty acid oxidation in white adipose tissue and how this pathway can be manipulated by diet, and on the balancing of adipose tissue lipid metabolism and adipogenesis during juvenile growth and development.  The overriding tenet of our research program is that a better understanding of the homeostatic mechanisms at work in healthy adipose tissue is critical to identifying processes that lead to obesity and its consequences. We use a combination of transcriptomics, metabolomics, in vivo studies and classical cell biology to address these research areas.

Selected Publications

  • Dodson, M.V., R. E. Allen, M. Du, W. G. Bergen, S. G. Velleman, S. P. Poulos, M. Fernyhough-Culver, M. B. Wheeler, S. K. Duckett, M. R.L. Young, B. H. Voy, and G. J. Hausman.  2015.  Invited Review: Evolution of meat animal growth research during the past 50 years: Adipose and muscle stem cells.  Journal of Animal Science.

  • Ji B, Middleton JL, Ernest B, Saxton AM, Lamont SJ, Campagna SR, Voy BH. Molecular and metabolic profiles suggest that increased lipid catabolism in adipose tissue contributes to leanness in domestic chickens. Physiol Genomics, Feb. 18: [epub ahead of print], 2014.

  • Fletcher, S. J., N. S. Kalupahana, M. Bejnood, J. H. Kim, A. M. Saxton, D. H. Wasserman, B. H. Voy, B. De Taeye, A. Quignard-Boulange, and N. Moustaid-Moussa. Transgenic mice overexpressing renin exhibit glucose intolerance and diet-genotype interactions.  Frontiers in Endocrinology, 3:166, 2013.

  • Kolker, E., V. Ozdemir, L. Martens, W. Hancock, G. Anderson, N. Anderson, S. Aynacioglu, A. Baranova, S. Campagna, B. H. Voy, L. Warnich, and G. Yandl.  Toward More Transparent and Reproducible Omics Studies Through a Common Metadata Checklist and Data Publications.  Big Data, December 2013, 1(4): 196-201, 2013.

  • Kolker, E., V. Ozdemir, L. Martens, W. Hancock, G. Anderson, S. Aynacioglu, A. Baranova, S. Campagna, R. Chen, B. H. Voy, S. Wilhelm, and G. Yandl.  Towards more transparent and reproducible omics studies through a common metadata checklist and data publications.  OMICS, Jan;18(1):10-4, 2013.

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