Zoncu Promoted to Associate Professor

Congratulations to Roberto Zoncu on receiving tenure and his promotion to MCB Associate Professor of Biochemistry, Biophysics and Structural Biology!

To better understand how humans develop, how we age, and why we become susceptible to a diverse range of diseases, Zoncu researches how the nutrients we consume regulate our growth and homeostasis. Little is known about how cells sense nutrients internally, and how nutrient-derived signals remodel the cell and enable it to adjust to changing metabolic requirements. How do cells fine-tune their metabolism to take advantage of the nutrients available to them?

The Zoncu lab seeks to expand our understanding of how organelles such as mitochondria, lysosomes, and autophagosomes specialize in storing, releasing, and processing metabolites ranging from amino acids to sugars, lipids, and nucleotides. How does each organelle sense the quality and quantity of the metabolites it carries? How is the nutrient and energy information from each organelle communicated to other compartments in the cell?

To investigate these questions, the Zoncu lab focuses on the lysosome as a model system. Through their work, the lysosome is emerging as a key signaling node, which relays nutrient availability to important signaling molecules such as the master growth regulator, mechanistic Target of Rapamycin Complex 1 (mTORC1) kinase. Elucidating the connection between mTORC1 and the lysosome may point the way to novel functions of the lysosome and could lead to new therapeutics for treating cancer. 

Visit the Zoncu Lab website to learn more.