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Jodi Nunnari

University of California Davis, USA

Jodi Nunnari is a pioneer in the field of mitochondrial biology. She was the first to describe the organelle as a dynamic network in homeostatic balance and decipher the mechanisms of the machines responsible for mitochondrial division and fusion. Nunnari was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied chemistry at the College of Wooster before attaining a Ph.D. in pharmacology fromVanderbilt University. She was a postdoctoral fellow with Peter Walter at the University of California, San Francisco and joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in The College of Biological Science in The Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1996. Nunnari was named Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Cell Biology in 2015, becoming the first woman to serve in this position. She is a member of the the American Society for Cell Biology, and served as the Society’s president in 2018. In 2017, Nunnari was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.


Mitochondrial Behavior

The focus of my group is to uncover the biology and roles of mitochondria in cellular homeostasis. Mitochondria perform fundamental functions in eukaryotic cells, including ATP production via respiration and cellular ion and phospholipid homeostasis. They also serve as platforms to integrate signaling pathways such as cell death and innate immunity. Work in my lab has established that mitochondrial functions are tightly linked to mitochondrial form and behavior, controlled by separate, but somehow coordinated machines that control mitochondrial dynamics, positioning, motility and mitochondrial DNA transmission. We have also addressed the fundamental question of how mitochondrial membranes are sub-compartmentalized to reveal the basis of the complex internal architecture of the organelle. More recently our work has implicated the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) as an integral and pervasive player in the regulation of mitochondrial form and function, which exerts its role through intimate contacts with mitochondria and other organelles, such as the lysosome. In this proposal, we explore the fundamental roles and modes of action of ER-mitochondria contact sites. By addressing the fundamental mechanisms governing mitochondrial behavior, we will illuminate how they contribute to pathogenesis.