Brenna is professor of human nutrition in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University, Ithaca, N.Y., USA. He is a member of Cornell’s graduate faculties of Chemistry and Chemical Biology, Food Science and Technology and Geological Sciences. He is also adjunct professor in the Departments of Community and Preventative Medicine and Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of Rochester (NY) Medical College.
Brenna earned his B.S. (1980) in Nutritional Biochemistry from the University of Connecticut, working in the lipids laboratory of the late Robert G. Jensen. His Ph.D. (1985) was in chemistry from Cornell University under thesis advisor George H. Morrison, developing biological ion microscopy. From 1985 to 1989, he was staff scientist at IBM’s Technology Laboratory in Endicott, N.Y., where his research focused on Fourier transform mass spectrometry. In 1989, he joined Cornell’s faculty as assistant professor of human nutrition.
Brenna’s research group focuses on polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) nutrition in the perinatal period and the role of PUFAs in neural and retinal development. Studies of the efficacy of DHA and related PUFAs as structural components of the central nervous system have helped to define the mechanism by which these fats improve visual and neural function. Brenna’s group is also active in the development and application of biomedical mass spectrometry and in the use of high precision isotope ratio mass spectrometry for detection of endogenous steroid doping.
His research group has been supported by the National Institutes of Health continuously since 1991 for these and related studies as well as by several private sources. He has been twice elected to the Board of Directors of the International Society for the Study of Fatty Acids and Lipids.
Docosahexaenoic and Arachidonic Acid Concentrations in Human Breast Milks Worldwide, J. T. Brenna, Behzad Varamini, Robert G. Jensen, Deborah A. Diersen-Schade, Linda Arterburn, Am J Clin Nutr 85:1457-1464, 2007.
The Influence Of Moderate And High Dietary Levels Of Long Chain Polyunsaturated Fatty Acid (LCPUFA) On Baboon Neonate Tissue Fatty Acids, Andrea T. Hsieh, Joshua C. Anthony, Deborah A. Diersen-Schade, Steven C. Rumsey, Cun Li, Peter W. Nathanielsz, J. Thomas Brenna, Pediatr Res 61(5, Part 1):537-545, 2007.
Comprehensive Differential Transcriptome Analysis of Cerebral Cortex of Baboon Neonates Consuming Arachidonic Acid and Moderate and High Docosahexaenoic Acid Formulas, Kumar S.D. Kothapalli, Joshua C. Anthony, Andrea Hsieh, Peter W. Nathanielsz, J. Thomas Brenna, PLoS ONE Apr 11;2:e370, 2007.
Dietary fat intakes for pregnant and lactating women, Berthold Koletzko, Irene Cetin, J. Thomas Brenna, for the Perinatal Lipid Intake Working Group, Br J Nutr 98(5):873-7, 2007. DOI: 10.1017/S0007114507764747.
Neonatal Piglet Tissue Compositional Dose Response to Dietary Docosahexaenoic And Arachidonic Acids, Meng-Chuan Huang, Angela Chueh Chao, Carolyn Tschanz, J.M. Peralta, Hsin-Chia Hung, D.A. Diersen-Schade and J. Thomas Brenna, J Nutr Sep;137(9):2049-2055, 2007.
Acetonitrile Covalent Adduct Chemical Ionization (CACI) Mass Spectrometry for Double Bond Localization in Non-Methylene-Interrupted Polyene Fatty Acid Methyl Esters. Peter Lawrence, J. T. Brenna, Anal Chem 78(4): 1312-7, 2006.
The influence of long chain polyunsaturate supplementation on docosahexaenoic acid and arachidonic acid in baboon neonate central nervous system. Guan-Yeu Diau, Andrea T. Hsieh, Eszter A. Sarkadi-Nagy, Vasuki Wijendran, Peter W. Nathanielsz, and J. Thomas Brenna, BMC Med 3:11, 2005.
The Influence of Prematurity and Long Chain Polyunsaturate Supplementation in Four-Week Adjusted Age Baboon Neonate Brain and Related Tissues. Eszter Sarkadi-Nagy, Vasuki Wijendran, Guan Yeu Diau, Angela Chueh Chao, Andrea T. Hsieh, Anu Turpeinen, P. W. Nathanielsz, J. T. Brenna. Pediatr Res 54: 244-252, 2003.
Bioequivalence of dietary α-linolenic and docosahexaenoic acids as sources of docosahexaenoate accretion in brain and associated organs of neonatal baboons. by Hui-Min Su, Luca Bernardo, Majid Mirmiran, X. H. Ma, T. N. Corso, P. W. Nathanielsz and J. T. Brenna, Pediatr Res 1999, 45:87-93.
Brain Docosahexaenoate Accretion In Fetal Baboons: Bioequivalence Of Dietary α-Linolenic And Docosahexaenoic Acids, R. S. Greiner, P. W. Nathanielsz, J. T. Brenna, 1997, Pediatr Res 42: 826-834.