Professor Daniel A. Tennant

Professor Daniel A. Tennant

Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
Professor of Biochemistry
IMSR Deputy Director of Research

Contact details

Hypoxia and Metabolism Group
Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Professor Daniel Tennant is a Professor of Biochemistry in the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research (IMSR), situated on the second floor of the Institute of Biomedical Research. He uses stable isotope tracers to investigate changes in the use of nutrients in conditions where oxygen is limiting (hypoxia), or in the presence of genetic mutations that induce a hypoxia-like response. Dan applies the fundamental knowledge gained from these research projects to understand the pathogenesis of diseases where changes in oxygenation play a role; in particular, cancer.

Dan also directs the Metabolic Tracer Analysis Core (MTAC) within the IMSR in order to develop novel means to analyse cellular and tissue metabolism using stable isotope tracer molecules, and collaborates with groups worldwide who are interested in using these techniques to study the metabolism of their system, or the metabolism of labelled product.

Professor Tennant publishes both primary research and reviews in high impact journals, including Nature Communications, Cell Metabolism, Nature Reviews Cancer and Cell, and is regularly asked to speak at international conferences.


  • Ph.D. (2005), Manchester University
  • MSci (2002) in Biochemistry, Cambridge University
  • BA (2001) in Natural Sciences, Cambridge University


Dan Tennant graduated with a BA (Hons) and MSci from the University of Cambridge in 2002. He went on to Manchester University to undertake a PhD studying diabetic neuropathy under the supervision of Professors Caroline Dive and David Tomlinson. During this time, he developed a strong interest in low oxygen (hypoxia) and the means by which Schwann cell dysfunction is elicited by the combination of this and hyperglycaemia.

In 2005, Dan moved to the Cancer Research UK Beatson Institute of Cancer Research in Glasgow under the supervision of Professor Eyal Gottlieb, investigating tumour hypoxia and metabolism, and in particular a family of enzymes that sense cellular oxygen levels, known as Prolyl Hydroxylases (PHDs).

In 2011, Dan started his own group at the University of Birmingham to investigate the ways in which cells alter their metabolism in order to survive hostile environments. He is currently funded by a Cancer Research UK Programme Foundation Award and project grants from multiple funders to study the role of hypoxia and genetic pseudohypoxia in determining physiological and pathophysiological metabolism.


Postgraduate supervision

Dan Tennant is currently supervising doctoral students in projects investigating:

  • How cells modulate their metabolism in response to hypoxia
  • How tumour-associated genetic perturbations induce metabolic transformation

For any doctoral research enquiries, please see those associated with Professor Tennant on or email:

For a full list of available Doctoral Research opportunities, please visit our Doctoral Research programme listings.


Research Groups and Centres

 MTAC – Metabolic Tracer Analysis Core


Eales K.L, Wilkinson E.A, Cruickshank G.S, Tucker J.H.R and Tennant D.A. (2018) Verteporfin selectively kills hypoxic glioma through iron-binding and increased production of reactive oxygen species. Sci Rep. 8(1):14358

Hollinshead K.E.R, Munford H, Eales K.L , Bardella C, Li C, Escribano-Gonzalez C, Thakker A, Nonnenmacher Y, Kluckova K, Jeeves M, Murren R, Cuozzo F, Ye D, Laurenti G, Zhu W, Hiller K, Hodson D.J, Hua W, Tomlinson I.P, Ludwig C, Mao Y, Tennant D.A. (2018) Oncogenic IDH1 mutations promote enhanced proline synthesis through pycr1 to support the maintenance of mitochondrial redox homeostasis. Cell Reports 22(12), 3107

Kluckova K and Tennant D.A. (2018). Metabolic implications of hypoxia and pseudohypoxia in pheochromocytoma and parganglioma. Cell Tissue Res 1-12

Bennett C.D, Kohe S.E, Gill S.K, Davies N.P, Wilson M, Storer L.C.D, Ritzmann T, Paine S.M.L, Scott I.S, Nicklaus-Wollenteit I, Tennant D.A, Grundy R.G, Peet A.C (2018). Tissue metabolite profiles for the characterisation of paediatric cerebellar tumours. Sci Rep. 8(1):11992

Chong M, Jayaraman A, Marin S, Slivanov P.R, de Atauri Carulla P.R, Tennant D.A, Cascante M, Günther U.L, Ludwig C. (2017) Combined analysis of NMR and MS spectra (CANMS). Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 56(15), 4140

McNee G, Williams D.S, Wenbin W, Barkhuisen A, Bartlett D.B, Essex S, Anandram S, Filer A, Moss P.A.H, Pratt, G, Basu S,  Davies C.C, Tennant, D.A (2017) Citrullination of histone H3 drives IL-6 production by bone marrow mesenchymal stem cells in MGUS and multiple myeloma Leukemia. 31(2), 373. Commentary in Lancet Oncology news section. 

Laurenti G and Tennant D.A (2016) Isocitrate dehydrogenase (IDH), succinate dehydrogenase (SDH), fumarate hydratase (FH): three players for one phenotype in cancer? Biochemical Society Transactions. 44 (4), 1111-1116

Eales K.L, Hollinshead K.E, Tennant D.A (2016) Hypoxia and metabolic adaptation of cancer cells. Oncogenesis. Jan 25;5:e190. doi: 10.1038/oncsis.2015.50

Lussey-Lepoutre C, Hollinshead K.E, Ludwig C, Menara M, Morin A, Castro-Vega L.J, Parker SJ, Janin M, Martinelli C, Ottolenghi C, Metallo C, Gimenez-Roqueplo A.P, Favier J, Tennant D.A (2015) Loss of succinate dehydrogenase activity results in dependency on pyruvate carboxylation for cellular anabolism. Nature Communocations. Nov 2;6:8784. doi: 10.1038/ncomms9784.

Ludwig C, Williams D.S, Bartlett D.B, Essex S, McNee G, Allwood J.W, Jewell E, Barkhuisen A, Parry H, Basu S, Dunn W.B, Moss P.A.H, Pratt G and Tennant D.A (2015) Alterations in bone marrow metabolism are an early and consistent feature during the development of MGUS and multiple myeloma. Blood Cancer Journal, 5:e359

For a full list of Professor D.A Tennant's publications

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