COSAM Faculty Focus – Dr. Jason Upton Researches Molecular Pathogens to Understand Viral Interactions
“We use diverse tools from genetics, cell biology, immunology and virology to find solutions to our research problems,” explained Dr. Jason Upton, an assistant professor in the Department of Biological Sciences.
Originally from Salem, Oregon, Dr. Upton earned his doctoral degree from Washington University in Saint Louis, Missouri, and then completed his postdoctoral fellowship at Emory University where he worked in the Emory Vaccine Center and the Emory School of Medicine.
He initially focused on cancer research during graduate school. During his rotation in labs, he became intrigued with viruses and the molecular mechanisms they use to cause disease.
“I was really fortunate to receive the training I did. WashU has really high caliber labs working in cell biology, microbiology and immunology. Then, receiving hands-on training at Emory University gave me this unique opportunity to approach problems with different perspectives,” he shared.
After spending a decade in Atlanta, Dr. Upton worked at the University of Texas Austin from 2012-2018 as an assistant professor. He then joined the College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) at Auburn University. His research involves virus-host interactions, with an emphasis on viral control of programmed cell death. Dr. Upton has almost 20 publications since 2012.
He enjoys being in the classroom and looks forward teaching a cell biology lab and advanced virology classes this fall.
“I try to encourage students to approach problems from multiple angles,” he added. “First, think of the virus and host at the molecular level and then look at the problem in the context of an organ system or organism.”
Outside of the office, Dr. Upton enjoys nature throughout the city of Auburn with his wife Jamie. As native of the west coast, he grew up hiking, exploring nearby beaches and spending the day snowboarding. Now in the southeast, he appreciates nature and shares a passion for the outdoors with warmer temperatures.
After living in Texas, he is a self-declared taco enthusiast and has a genuine excitement for Mexican cuisine.