Faculty Profile

Jenny Tenlen

Jenny Tenlen

Associate Professor and Co-Chair of Biology

Email: tenlenj@spu.edu
Phone: 206-281-2007
Office: Eaton 113

First Generation student

Education: BS, University of Puget Sound, 1995; MAT, Seattle University, 1998; PhD, University of Washington, 2007. At SPU since 2012.

Jenny Tenlen joined the Biology Department at SPU in 2012, coming from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, where she was a postdoctoral research associate and teaching fellow. Before earning her PhD, she taught high school biology, chemistry, and physical science in the Seattle area. At SPU, her teaching interests include general biology, genetics, and developmental biology.

Dr. Tenlen’s research focuses on the genetics and evolution of embryo development, particularly in tardigrades (water bears) and nematodes. Dr. Tenlen’s research students are working to identify and characterize genes that are necessary for germ cell development in tardigrades. Working in collaboration with Dr. Bob Goldstein’s lab at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, students in Dr. Tenlen’s “Genetics” and “Principles of Development” courses have contributed to research on the specification of cell fate in nematodes. More recently, Dr. Tenlen and Dr. Eric Long have collaborated on a project to assess the genetic diversity of black-tailed deer on Blakely Island.

In addition to teaching and research, Dr. Tenlen is active in science outreach as a mentor, guest lecturer, and science fair judge at the elementary and high school levels. She is a member of the Speaker’s Bureau at the Northwest Association for Biomedical Research, and has worked with teachers in the Science Education Partnership program at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center to incorporate inquiry-based activities using nematodes into their curriculum.

As part of SPU's celebration of first-generation college students, Dr. Tenlen wrote about her own experiences as a first-gen college graduate.

Please see Dr. Tenlen's website for more information about her teaching and research interests.

Selected Publications

  • Tenlen, J.R. (2018). “Microinjection of dsRNA in tardigrades.” Cold Spring Harbor Protocols http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/pdb.prot102368.
  • Boothby, T.C., Tenlen, J.R., Smith, F.W., Wang, J.R., Patanella, K.A., Nishimura, E.O., Tintori, S.C., Li, Q., Jones, C.D., Yandell, M., Messina, D.N., Glasscock, J. and Goldstein, B. (2015). “Evidence for extensive horizontal gene transfer from the draft genome of a tardigrade.” Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 112, 15976-15981. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4702960/.
  • Tenlen, J.R.; McCaskill, S.; and Goldstein, B. (2013).  “RNA interference can be used to disrupt gene function in tardigrades.” Development Genes Evolution 223, 171–81.
  • Tenlen, J.R.; Molk, J.N.; London, N.L.; Page, B.D.; and Priess, J.R. (2008). “MEX-5 asymmetry in 1-cell C. elegans embryos requires PAR-4- and PAR-1-dependent phosphorylation.” Development 135, 3665–75.
  • Le, T.N.; Blomstedt, C.K.; Kuang, J.; Tenlen, J.; Gaff, D.F.; Hamill, J.D.; and Neale, A.D. (2007). “Desiccation-intolerance specific gene expression in leaf tissue of the resurrection plant Sporobolus stapfianus.” Functional Plant Biology 34, 589–600.
  • Page, B.D.; Diede, S.J.; Tenlen, J.R.; and Ferguson, E.L. (2007). “EEL-1, a Hect E3 ubiquitin ligase, controls asymmetry and persistence of the SKN-1 transcription factor in the early C. elegans embryo.” Development 134, 2303–14.
  • Tenlen, J.R.*, Schisa, J.A.*; Diede, S.J.; and Page, B.D. (2006). “Reduced dosage of pos-1 suppresses Mex mutants and reveals complex interactions among CCCH zinc-finger proteins during Caenorhabditis elegans embryogenesis. Genetics 174, 1933–45.  

    *These authors contributed equally to this work.

Please see Dr. Tenlen’s CV (PDF) for additional publications.

Jenny Tenlen

Meet Jenny Tenlen

Learn more about Dr. Tenlen's teaching and research interests, and hear her advice for Biology students.

View the video

Biology | Why I Teach

Why I Teach at SPU

Jenny Tenlen, Associate Professor of Biology

“I teach at SPU because both teaching and research are valued, and my students’ enthusiasm for my research has rekindled my own passion for research. I am part of a strong and nurturing department that cares deeply about our students. I particularly appreciate that I can really get to know my students and colleagues, and have been inspired by their goals, dreams, and accomplishments.”