Todd M. Hennessey


Todd M. Hennessey.

Todd M. Hennessey


Todd M. Hennessey


Professor, SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching

Research Interests

Membrane biochemistry and cell physiology

Contact Information

610 Hochstetter Hall

Buffalo NY, 14260

Phone: (716) 645-4973


  • PhD, University of Wisconsin
  • Postdoctoral Research, University of Wisconsin

Office Hours

  • Monday, Wednesday: 2:00 - 3:00pm

Research Summary

We are using the unicellular eukaryote Tetrahymena as a model sensory cell to study the chemosensory pathways involved in cellular responses to depolarizing chemorepellents (such as ATP, GTP, and polycations like lysozyme) and chemoattractants (like lysophosphatidic acid) as well as the mechanisms responsible for adaptation to these stimuli. We use targeted gene knockouts to study the involvement of GPCRs (G-protein coupled receptors), their G-proteins and other parts of their chemosensory transduction pathways. We incorporate intracellular electrophysiology, immunolocalization, intracellular Ca++ measurements, RT-PCR, quantitative PCR and other biochemical assays to further understand the pathways and responses of mutants and wild type to these stimuli. We also work in collaboration with several other labs to study the effects of knockout mutations on ciliary waveform, ciliary reversal and ciliary beat frequency. One of the main goals of this work is to see how similar the receptors and sensory response pathways of this simple eukaryotic cell are similar to those of higher organisms. This may allow us to use Tetrahymena as a more humane model system to gain insights into how humans and other organisms respond to chemical stimuli.

Selected Publications

  • Zou D, Hennessey TM. 2017. Behavioral effects of a chemorepellent receptor knockout mutation in Tetrahymena thermophila. mSphere 2:e00182-17.
  • Urbanska P, Song K, Joachimiak E, Krzemien-Ojak L, Koprowski P, Hennessey T, Jerka-Dziadosz M, Fabczak H, Gaertig J, Nicastro D, Wloga D. (2015). The CSC proteins FAP61 and FAP251 build the basal substructures of radial spoke 3 in cilia. Mol Biol Cell. 26(8):1463-75
  • Vasudevan KK, Jiang YY, Lechtreck KF, Kushida Y, Alford LM, Sale WS, Hennessey T, Gaertig J. (2015). Kinesin-13 regulates the quantity and quality of tubulin inside cilia. Mol Biol Cell. 26(3):478-94.
  • Vasudevan KK, Song K, Alford LM, Sale WS, Dymek EE, Smith EF, Hennessey T, Joachimiak E, Urbanska P, Wloga D, Dentler W, Nicastro D, Gaertig J. (2015). FAP206 is a microtubule-docking adapter for ciliary radial spoke 2 and dynein c. Mol Biol Cell. 26(4):696-710.
  • Hennessey, T.M. and Lampert,T. (2012). Behavioral Assays and their uses in Tetrahymena. In: Tetrahymena (Eds. Kathleen Collins and Eduardo Orias). Methods in Cell Biol. 62:363-377.
  • Lampert, T.J. , Coleman, K.D. , Hennessey, T.M. (2011). A Knockout mutation of a constitutive GPCR in Tetrahymena decreases both G-Protein activity and chemoattraction. PloS ONE 6(11): e28022.
  • Suryavanshi,S., Bernard Eddé,B., Fox, L., Guerrero,S., Griffin, P., Hard,R., Hennessey,T., Kabi,A., Malison,D., Pennock,D., Sale,W., Wloga,D. and Gaertig,J. (2010). Tubulin Glutamylation Regulates the Motility of Cilia. Curr. Biol. 20: 435–440.
  • Rodgers, L.R. , Markle, K., Hennessey, T.M. (2008). Responses of the ciliates Tetrahymena and Paramecium to vertebrate odorants and tastants. J. Euk. Microbiol. 55(1): 27–33