top of page

Jill Laytart Trende Ph. D.     Inducted 2007 - Class of 1985

Jill attended Hamilton Elementary and Leverette Jr. High. She grew up on Wallace Boulevard and still lives on the same street, next door to her parents, Donald and Marjorie Laytart. Several other family members live on Wallace, too. From a blended family of yours, mine, and ours, Jill is the youngest of six. She has three older sisters and two older brothers - Marguerite, Tina, Donald II, Gerald, and Debbie - all Woodward grads!

One of Jill's high school memories is painting the polar bear in the front of school with her cousin, Lisa Knopp, and another friend. Another time, she was caught leaving the school for lunch by the auto shop teacher! She remembers her high school girl friends Colleen Knott, Brenda Hughes, and Jane Gates. Teachers who left an impression on Jill are the late Mrs. Gainey, who would smile with her tongue sticking out, Mrs. Attie's French Class, Mr .Duvendack's Honors Biology Course, Mrs. Szelagowski's Chemistry Class her senior year, and Mrs. Moffat's Jr. Steno (shorthand) Block.

Dan Duvendack comments: "Jill was just a delight to have in class. She was a sweetheart and any teacher would have been lucky to have her enrolled in a class. Jill was an exceptionally bright and happy student; she just lit up a room. She didn't take herself seriously and was truly a joy to be around. As a teacher, you'd just love to have a classroom of students like Jill." Mrs. Moffat concurs: "Jill possessed something special that we don’t see every day. Her positive attitude and strong work ethic was wonderful. Jill possesses a delightful spirit and was very fun to have in class. I always knew Jill stood out above the others and that she was destined to do great work, all the while spreading cheer to those nearby."

Jill went out for Track and made the team, but didn't compete, as she did not like the practice or the fact that her toes suffered from wearing the shoes!

After earning her Bachelor's Degree from UT in 1997, she immediately pursued her Doctorate, and achieved that degree in 2001. Jill's Doctoral Thesis was a study of alternate gene expression in nonadherent skin cells (skin cells not attached to one another) versus adherent (attached) skin cells. The official title of her thesis is: "Cadherin induced differential gene expression in primary human keratinocytes." While she was working on this thesis, Jill's mentor, Dr. Keith Johnson, says of her: "No one else at had conducted such studies, so Jill was more or less on her own. Jill demonstrated real tenaciousness in her work." He also said she exhibited real independence when the lab moved during the latter stages of her work. "Even though she was left on her own, she pushed her project forward and rapidly finished her Ph.D.," he continued.

In 2003, her work was presented at the American Society for Cell Biology and International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research. Then in 2004, she presented for the International Cytokine Society and International Society for Interferon and Cytokine Research Combined Meeting .

Jill has four publications. One concerns human squamous cancer cells, another is on interferon inhibiting cell spreading, and two recent publications deal with detecting drug metabolites in biological fluids. Her current research is on biological testing of anti-cancer drugs, synthesized from natural products' anti-cancer agents. For example: using the anti cancer agents from soy products. These are pre-clinical drugs. Two variations of the testing are: (1) in vitro testing of anti-cancer agents in mammalian cell lines and (2) testing anti-cancer drugs in whole animal systems.

A colleague of Jill's, Jill Nieset, says about her, "She is making a significant impact on the understanding of human disease, which will ultimately aid in the development of new therapies to alleviate human illness and suffering."

Mentoring students is a top priority for Jill. She has been assisting graduate students decide on the work of their theses as well as discussing which experiments they could pursue.

Earlier this month, Jill was named Adjunct Graduate Faculty Member at UT. She is with the College of Pharmacy, Center for Drug Design and Development. She will now serve on committees to which doctoral candidates defend their theses. She is also now eligible to teach graduate courses. Her memberships include the American Society for Cell Biology, the American Association for Cancer Research, and the International Society for Interferon and Clytokine Research.

Jill felt shocked and humbled when she was told of her induction into the Hall of Fame. She felt as though she hasn't accomplished enough to be in it. Fortunately, the selection committee knew of her work and readily decided on her inclusion.

She has been happily married to William Trendel for almost 15 years. Together they have a wonderful seven-year-old son, Jarett. Jill enjoys actively volunteering at her son's school for various activities and helping out at the school's office. Tonight several members of her close-knit family are here to share in the celebration of her achievements. Jill, you have accomplished a great deal and will continue to help mankind, with a very cheerful attitude. Congratulations!

bottom of page