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Davy Jones, PhD

126 Multidisciplinary Science Building


  • Professor Univ. of Ky Toxicology and Cancer Biology

College Unit(s)

Biography and Education



TOX 395 Independent Undergraduate Research (Course Director)
An independent experimental research project for 3-6 credits in a contemporary area of Toxicology or Cancer Biology,                  

TOX 508 Independent Research in Toxicology (and Cancer Biology) (Course Director)
The course provides students with ‘hands on’ experience in research methods used to solve toxicological problems. Students will be under the direction of a DTCB faculty member, who will supervise the student’s efforts on a research project. The student will be trained not only in the ‘hands on’ techniques but also in how to independently design and interpret research experiments. Students will prepare a final report on their research project, which will be designed to provide instruction and training in preparing ‘publication-style’ research reports. This course is distinct from ‘topical seminar’ or ‘library survey’ courses, since such courses are not ‘hands on’ in experimental methods.

TOX 509 Environmental and Regulatory Toxicology (Course Director and Instructor)
Presentation of basic and advanced concepts to provide an integrated description of toxicology, its scope, the unique application of principles that characterize it as a science, and its professional practice. Emphases will include an extensive treatment of relationships between toxicology and environmental exposures and the influence of federal regulations on the practice of toxicology

TOX 780 001 Special Problems in Toxicology (Course Director and Instructor)


My current research is on molecular action of natural hormonal regulators and their related toxicants, using an invertebrate model system (Drosophila) to study underlying molecular mechanisms. Our specific attention is on the molecular structure and functional action of the invertebrate homolog of the retinoid X receptor, 'ultraspiracle' (USP). Since null mutants of this receptor are lethal, our studies, including with transgenic organisms, are examining mechanistics questions on the conformation of the ligand binding pocket and the receptor's interaction with ligand and transcriptional coregulators.

We have identified a terpenoid circulating ligand that binds with nanomolar affinity to USP(RXR). Through functional studies using Drosophila genetic methods, we have determined that the ligand binding pocket of USP(RXR) is necessary for epidermal generation of skin (cuticle).

Our genome-wide RNA expression, USP-binding (ChIP-seq), and cas9-mediated mutagenesis studies are identifying primary target genes for this regulatory axis. In practical application, our studies can enable development of selective agonist or antagonist compounds for this receptor to control invertebrate disease vectors, or crop pests, as an alternative to use of harmful pesticides in the environment that have such adverse effects on humans and other nontarget organisms.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications: 

Jones, D., Spokony, R., Sapa, A., Pannell, M., Yu, H., Liang, D., Tezanos, A., Stromberg, A, Jones, G. (2018) Signaling by Ligand-Ultraspiracle (RXR) for Generation of Mature Larval Skin in Drosophila Melanogaster. SUN 360, Endocrine Reviews 39(2), April 

Niewiadomska-Cimicka, A., Sapa, A., Spokony, R., Siddiqui,, K, Barajas,, E., Jones, D. and Jones, G. Genetic Targets of the Ligand-Ultraspiracle (RXR) (2017) Signaling Axis for Generation of the Epidermal Cuticular Barrier in Drosophila melanogaster. SUN 262, Endocrine Reviews 38(3), June 

Teal P, Jones D, Jones G, Torto B, Nyasembe V, Borgemeister C, Alborn H, Kaplan F, Boucias D, Lietze V. (2014) Identification of methyl farnesoate from hemolymph of insects. J. of Natural Products 77:402-5 PMID: 24467367

Jones D, Jones G, Teal PE. (2013) Sesquiterpene action, and morphogenetic signaling through the ortholog of retinoid X receptor, in higher Diptera. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 194: 326-335. PMID: 24120505

Jones G, Teal P, Henrich VC, Krzywonos A, Sapa A, Wozniak M, Smolka J, Jones D. (2013) Ligand binding pocket function of Drosophila USP is necessary for metamorphosis. Gen Comp Endocrinol. 182:73-82 PMID: 23211750

Jones G, Jones D, Fang F, Xu Y, New D, Wu WH. (2012) Juvenile hormone action through a defined enhancer motif to modulate ecdysteroid-activation of natural core promoters. Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 161, 219-25. PMID: 22142799

Jones, D., Jones, G., Teal, P., Hammac, C., Messmer, L., Osborne, K., Belgacem, Y. H., and Martin, J.-R., (2010) Suppressed Production of Methyl Farnesoid Hormones Yields Developmental Defects and Lethality in Drosophila Larvae. Gen. Comp. Endocrinol. 165, 244-54. PMID: 19595690