Recent News

December 1st, 2021: PhD student position available for August 2022.

The Pence lab will have at least one opening for a PhD student in the new Applied Physiology & Nutrition program in the College of Health Sciences, University of Memphis. Students can be admitted with either a bachelor's or master's degree in a discipline broadly related to metabolism. Potential applicants are encouraged to contact Dr. Pence to discuss their interests. More information can be found on our Positions page on the website.


November 11th, 2021: Paper published in Frontiers in Immunology.

The Pence lab published a paper in Frontiers in Immunology titled "Metformin Suppresses Monocyte Immunometabolic Activation by SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Subunit 1". The paper highlights the role of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in altering monocyte metabolism to promote inflammation. The manuscript is open access and available on the publisher's website.


September 1st, 2021: Pence promoted to Associate Professor.

Dr. Pence was promoted to Associate Professor with tenure at the University of Memphis.


August 28th, 2021: Paper published in AIMS Molecular Science.

Dr. Pence published a review article in AIMS Molecular Science titled "Recent developments and future perspectives in aging and macrophage immunometabolism". The paper highlights important recent findings in immunometabolism in the innate immune system, as it applies to biological aging. The manuscript is open access and available on the publisher's website.


August 20th, 2021: Pence awarded research professorship.

Dr. Pence was awarded a University Research Professorship by the Provost's Office and the Division of Research & Innovation at the University of Memphis. The 3-year award recognizes outstanding contributions to the University's educational, research, outreach, and service missions. More details can be found on the University website.


July 13th, 2021: COVID-19 book chapter published.

Dr. Pence and Dr. Theodore Cory (UTHSC) published a book chapter covering monocytes and macrophages and their role in COVID-19. The chapter is included in the book "Biotechnology to Combat COVID-19" and is available open access at the publisher's website.

May 28th, 2021: Preprint available on bioRxiv.

Our preprint reporting an anti-inflammatory effect of metformin during SARS-CoV-2 infection in monocytes is available on the bioRxiv server.


March 30th, 2021: Editorial published in Aging.

Dr. Pence published an invited editorial in Aging titled "Aging and monocyte immunometabolism in COVID-19." The brief paper covers recent advances in monocyte responses to SARS-CoV-2 and links these to age-related monocyte dysfunction to argue for a role of these cells in causing more severe COVID-19 in older adults. The editorial is freely available at the journal website.


March 1st, 2021: Announcing the MIIMS interest group meeting.

Dr. Pence and Dr. Liza Makowski (University of Tennessee Health Science Center) are co-directing a new regional interest group: Metabolism, Immunity, & Inflammation Mid-South. The group will bring together scholars with diverse interests in research in these areas. An inaugural virtual conference is planned for April 16th, 2021. More information can be found on the conference website.


November 19th, 2020: Editorial published in Journal of Leukocyte Biology.

Dr. Pence published an invited editorial in the Journal of Leukocyte Biology titled "Atypical monocytes in COVID-19: Lighting the fire of cytokine storm?" The paper accompanies a featured article by Dan Zhang et al. which reported on a unique population of monocytes found in the blood of COVID-19 patients. Free access to the editorial is provided on the journal website.

November 11th, 2020: Community of Research Scholars awarded to new MIIMS initiative.

Dr. Pence received a University of Memphis Community of Research Scholars (CoRS) grant to establish a new Metabolism, Immunity, and Inflammation Mid-South (MIIMS) research interest group. The group will be co-directed by Pence and Dr. Liza Makowski (UTHSC). A regular academic conference for regional investigators in this research area is planned. For more information on UofM CoRS awards, see the Division of Research and Innovation announcement.

October 19th, 2020: COVID-19 research featured in University of Memphis Magazine.

Dr. Pence's research was featured in the Fall 2020 issue of the University of Memphis Magazine. The article, "Inside the Immune Response", covers our ongoing research into the molecular basis of inflammation in COVID-19. The article can be accessed on the University website.


September 25th, 2020: Paper published in Aging Medicine.

The Pence lab published a paper in Aging Medicine entitled "Growth differentiation factor-15 is associated with age-related monocyte dysfunction". The paper reports results of a secondary analysis relating blood levels of the cytokine GDF-15 with metrics of monocyte cellular dysfunction reported in several of our previous papers. The manuscript is published open access and is available on the journal website.


August 5th, 2020: Pence and Cory awarded CORNET grant.

Dr. Pence and Dr. Ted Cory (University of Tennessee Health Science Center) will serve as co-Principal Investigators on a Collaborative Research Network (CORNET) award to study mechanisms underlying the increased severity of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19 in older adults. The $50,000 grant is one of 9 funded by UTHSC with the University of Memphis, with at least one scientist from each institution serving as co-PI on each grant. For more information, see the university press release.


July 1st, 2020: Papers published in Immunometabolism.

The lab had two papers published back-to-back in the virtual special issue on "Immunometabolism and Aging" in the journal Immunometabolism. Dr. Pence authored a commentary on a recent paper in Aging Cell by Saare et al. Graduate student John Yarbro also wrote a review article on macrophage immunometabolism and aging, with co-authors Drs. Emmons and Pence. Both papers are available open access.


June 17th, 2020: Dr. Pence presents at virtual American Aging Association meeting.

Dr. Pence presented a virtual poster titled "Immunometabolic activation of monocytes by SARS-CoV-2 spike protein suggests potential therapeutic role of geroprotector drugs". The research was presented at the virtual meeting of the American Aging Association, held in lieu of the annual meeting due to the COVID-19 crisis.

June 15th, 2020: Paper accepted at GeroScience.

Dr. Pence published a review article in the prestigious journal GeroScience, entitled "Severe COVID-19 and aging: Are monocytes the key?" The paper surveys emerging links between monocytes and macrophages and the cytokine storm characteristic of severe COVID-19. The paper is available open-access at the journal website.

March 10th, 2020: Dr. Pence appointed Associate Editor for Frontiers journals.

Dr. Pence was appointed an Associate Editor for the journals Frontiers in Immunology and Frontiers in Nutrition. He will serve on the board for the Nutritional Immunology section for both journals. He previously served as a Review Editor for both journals from 2017-2020.