Jonathan Heaven

Mentor: Dr. Andrew Judge
College of Public Health and Health Professions
"I got involved with research because many people in my life have been impacted by cancer. After learning about cancer cachexia and the significant impact that it has on many cancer patients, I realized the importance of discovering the cause of this metabolic condition. My research investigates the genetic cause of cancer cachexia, which can potentially lead to the development of novel therapeutics. I also got involved with research because it is a great way to apply the scientific knowledge that I have acquired throughout my academic career."


Health Science



Research Interests

  • Cancer Cachexia
  • Myocilin
  • Skeletal Muscle Wasting

Academic Awards

  • Anderson Scholar 2015
  • Bachelor of Health Science Honors Program 2016
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • Health Science Student Organization (HSSO)
  • Health and Education through Research, Outreach, Empowerment, and Service (HEROES)


  • HealthStreet Community Engagement Program)
  • UF Health Shands

Hobbies and Interests

  • Weight Lifting
  • Music
  • Hiking
  • Camping

Research Description

Skeletal Muscle Wasting During Cancer Cachexia: the Role of Myocilin Regulation
My research project examines the gene Myocilin's role in cancer cachexia. Cancer cachexia is a devastating metabolic condition that impacts many cancer patients. It causes debilitating amounts of skeletal muscle atrophy, which in turn leads to intensified cancer symptoms and decreased quality of life. Since the mechanistic causes of cancer cachexia are not well understood, effective therapeutics have yet to be developed. My research project tests the hypothesis that down-regulation of the gene Myocilin causes skeletal muscle wasting in cachectic cancer patients. To test this hypothesis, we over-expressed Myocilin in tumor-bearing mice. By harvesting these muscle cells, performing histological analysis, and comparing their average cross sectional area against a control group, Myocilin's role in cancer cachexia will be concluded. If the hypothesis is correct, this can potentially lead to the development of novel therapeutics.