Orian S. Shirihai, MD, PhD

Orian S. Shirihai, MD, PhD, UCLA Metabolism Theme

Our laboratory is studying organellar biology with a focus on mitochondria, lysosomes and autophagosomes. In the past fifteen years the lab has focused on the study of mitochondrial quality control mechanisms including fusion, fission and autophagy. Since 2012 we have collaborated on a novel approach for delivering cargo into lysosomes through the use of nanoparticles. We develop these nanoparticles as a mode of intervention and as a mechanism to introduce probes and caged acids into lysosomes. To achieve that we co-mentor trainees with collaborators where new polymer formulations have been developed and then produced and implemented in our lab. Our lab is known for its development of key imaging approaches to quantify mitochondrial dynamics, motility, mitophagy and turnover. The lab played a pivotal role in the development of cutting edge technology for high throughput respirometry in collaboration with Seahorse Bioscience. The lab has sustained active and fruitful collaborations with biotech and pharma over the years, in projects involving drug discovery as well as research and medical device development. The lab has trained over 12 post doctoral fellows, of which four have been recruited as faculty in academic institutions, and two are founders of new biotech companies. Since 2016 I became the director of UCLA Metabolism Theme which facilitate team work and enable research by providing tools guidance to the members of the UCLA metabolism research community.

The UCLA Metabolism Theme is a David Geffen School of Medicine initiative that aims to facilitate campus wide interdisciplinary research in the field of metabolism involving basic, clinical and industry collaborations. The team, led by Dr. Orian Shirihai, seeks to understand how metabolic pathways contribute to human disease and how they can be harnessed for diagnosis, prevention and therapy.