Jason Burkhead

Jason Burkhead

Associate Professor
Department of Biological Sciences


  • Ph.D., Biology, Colorado State University, 2003
  • M.S., Biology, Colorado State University, 2001
  • B.S., Biology, Indiana University, 1995

Teaching Responsibilities

  • BIOL A461/661- Molecular Biology
  • BIOL A490/690: Cell & Molecular Structure and Function
  • BIOL A498/698: Individual Research
  • BIOL A499/699: Senior Thesis
  • BIOL A605- Grad Proseminar in Sciences

Research Interests

The Burkhead lab is interested in understanding how humans and other organisms maintain homeostasis of the essential, yet reactive, transition metal copper. Our work uses biochemical, molecular and cell biological methods in projects that range from study of basic biochemical and cellular mechanisms to clinical studies. Basic science work focuses on understanding the cellular trafficking decisions that the COMMD1 protein influences and the functional characteristics of COMMD1 interaction with phosphatidylinositol signaling lipids.

In mammals, the liver is the central organ responsible for management of copper levels. We use animal models of copper toxicity and deficiency to investigate the consequences of copper dyshomeostasis and the molecular underpinnings of associated liver diseases such as Wilson Disease and non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease. Emerging clinical collaborations aim to understand the relationship between copper levels, transition metal balance and liver disease.

The research group includes graduate students, undergraduate students and occasionally technicians who are interested in a variety of academic and professional careers. We collaborate with researchers across the globe and welcome opportunities to interact with the broader scientific community. Our goals are to contribute to scientific knowledge that is important to the global community, create contemporary research opportunities for students at the University of Alaska Anchorage, and support a research culture including a bioscience curriculum that is directly connected to research. Research group members have gone on to graduate science programs at UAA and other universities, medical school, professional schools and industry. 


Selected Publications- See CV for Full List

Savannah L. Tallino, Megan Duffy, Martina Ralle María Paz Cortés, Mauricio Latorre and Jason L. Burkhead. Nutrigenomics analysis reveals that copper deficiency and dietary sucrose upregulate inflammation, fibrosis and lipogenic pathways in a mature rat model of non-alcoholic fatty-liver disease. J. Nut. Biochem. (2015) J. Nut Biochem. Oct.; 26(10):996-1006. DOI:10.1016/j.jnutbio.2015.04.009

Natalia Quiroz, Nicole Rivas, Talía del Pozo, Jason Burkhead, Miriam Suazo, Mauricio González and Mauricio Latorre (2015) Transcriptional activation of glutathione pathways and role of glucose homeostasis during copper imbalance. BioMetals 10.1007/s10534-015-9834-z, online 22 Feb 2015.

Jason L. Burkhead* and Svetlana Lutsenko* (2013). The Role of Copper as a Modifier of LipidMetabolism, Lipid Metabolism, Prof. Rodrigo Valenzuela Baez (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-0944-0,InTech, DOI: 10.5772/51819. *Corresponding authors. 

Philip Wilmarth, Kristopher Short, Oliver Fiehn, Svetlana Lutsenko, Larry David and Jason L.Burkhead. A systems approach implicates nuclear receptor targeting in the Atp7b-/- mouse model of Wilson's Disease. (2012) Metallomics. Jul 28;4(7):660-8 [PMID: 22565294] Inside cover article.

Jason L. Burkhead, Lawrence Gray, and Svetlana Lutsenko. Systems Biology Approach to Wilson's Disease. Biometals. (2011) Jun;24(3):455-66. [PMID 21380607]

Jason L. Burkhead*, Martina Ralle, Phillip Wilmarth, Larry David and Svetlana Lutsenko. Elevated Copper Remodels Hepatic RNA Processing Machinery In The Mouse Model Of Wilson's Disease. (2011) J Mol Biol. 2011, Feb 11;406(1):44-58 [PMID: 21146535]. *Co-corresponding author.

Martina Ralle*, Dominik Huster*, Stefan Vogt, Wiebke Schirrmeister, Jason L. Burkhead, Tony R. Capps, Lawrence Gray, Barry Lai, Edward Maryon, and Svetlana Lutsenko. Wilson's disease at a single cell level: intracellular copper trafficking activates compartment-specific responses inhepatocytes. (2010) J. Biol. Chem. Oct 1;285(40): 30875-83 [PMID: 20647314]

Jason L. Burkhead, Kathryn A. Gogolin Reynolds, Salah E. Abdel-Ghany, Christopher M. Cohu, and Marinus Pilon Copper homeostasis in plant cells. (2009) Invited Tansley Review, New Phytologist. June.182, 4. 799-816.

Jason L. Burkhead*, Clinton T. Morgan*, Ujwal Shinde, Gabrielle Haddock, Svetlana Lutsenko.COMMD1 Forms Oligomeric Complexes Targeted to the Endocytic Membranes via SpecificInteractions With Ptdins(4,5)P2. (*Authors contributed equally). (2009) Jan 2;284(1): 696-707. 

Career History/Work Experience

  • Alaska INBRE Faculty