Orian Shirihai, M.D., Ph.D.

A Short Biography:

Our laboratory is studying organellar biology with a focus on mitochondria, lysosomes and autophagosomes in the context of obesity and diabetes. In the past fifteen years the lab has focused on the study of the roles of mitochondrial dynamics in quality control, fuel preferences and energy expenditure. The lab is known for the development of key imaging approaches that allow for the quantification of mitochondrial dynamics, motility, mitophagy and turnover. Using these methodologies to study mitochondrial dynamics we described the life cycle of the mitochondria and the role of continuous fusion and fission dynamics in the maintenance of bioenergetic capacity and efficiency in the pancreatic beta cell. The lab played a pivotal role in the development of cutting edge technology for high throughput respirometry in collaboration with Seahorse Bioscience which lead to the development of higher throughput approaches for islet respirometry. The lab has provided training to over 80 different groups in the application of bioenergetics studies such as Respirometry and imaging. 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 14 postdoctoral fellows, of which six have been recruited as faculty in academic institutions, and two are founders of new biotech companies. Since 2016 I serve as 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.

Work Titles
UCLA Chair, Professor, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Professor, Molecular & Medical Pharmacology Member, I3T Theme Member, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area

Contact Information:

Office Phone Number:


Mailing Address:

UCLA Med-Endo
BOX 957073, CHS 33-131E
Los Angeles, CA 90095


A selected list of publications:

Montemurro Chiara, Vadrevu Suryakiran, Gurlo Tatyana, Butler Alexandra E, Vongbunyong Kenny E, Petcherski Anton, Shirihai Orian S, Satin Leslie S, Braas Daniel, Butler Peter C, Tudzarova Slavica   Cell cycle-related metabolism and mitochondrial dynamics in a replication-competent pancreatic beta-cell line Cell cycle (Georgetown, Tex.), 2017; 1-14.
Mahdaviani Kiana, Benador Ilan Y, Su Shi, Gharakhanian Raffi A, Stiles Linsey, Trudeau Kyle M, Cardamone Maria, Enríquez-Zarralanga Violeta, Ritou Eleni, Aprahamian Tamar, Oliveira Marcus F, Corkey Barbara E, Perissi Valentina, Liesa Marc, Shirihai Orian S   Mfn2 deletion in brown adipose tissue protects from insulin resistance and impairs thermogenesis EMBO reports, 2017; 18(7): 1123-1138.
Tkatch Tatiana, Greotti Elisa, Baranauskas Gytis, Pendin Diana, Roy Soumitra, Nita Luliaoana I, Wettmarshausen Jennifer, Prigge Matthias, Yizhar Ofer, Shirihai Orian S, Fishman Daniel, Hershfinkel Michal, Fleidervish Ilya A, Perocchi Fabiana, Pozzan Tullio, Sekler Israel   Optogenetic control of mitochondrial metabolism and Ca(2+) signaling by mitochondria-targeted opsins Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2017; 114(26): E5167-E5176.
Zeng Chun, Mulas Francesca, Sui Yinghui, Guan Tiffany, Miller Nathanael, Tan Yuliang, Liu Fenfen, Jin Wen, Carrano Andrea C, Huising Mark O, Shirihai Orian S, Yeo Gene W, Sander Maike   Pseudotemporal Ordering of Single Cells Reveals Metabolic Control of Postnatal β Cell Proliferation Cell metabolism, 2017; 25(5): 1160-1175.e11.
Lim Jeong-A, Li Lishu, Shirihai Orian S, Trudeau Kyle M, Puertollano Rosa, Raben Nina   Modulation of mTOR signaling as a strategy for the treatment of Pompe disease EMBO molecular medicine, 2017; 9(3): 353-370.
Kottakis Filippos, Nicolay Brandon N, Roumane Ahlima, Karnik Rahul, Gu Hongcang, Nagle Julia M, Boukhali Myriam, Hayward Michele C, Li Yvonne Y, Chen Ting, Liesa Marc, Hammerman Peter S, Wong Kwok Kin, Hayes D Neil, Shirihai Orian S, Dyson Nicholas J, Haas Wilhelm, Meissner Alexander, Bardeesy Nabeel   LKB1 loss links serine metabolism to DNA methylation and tumorigenesis Nature, 2016; 539(7629): 390-395.
Trudeau Kyle M, Colby Aaron H, Zeng Jialiu, Las Guy, Feng Jiazuo H, Grinstaff Mark W, Shirihai Orian S   Lysosome acidification by photoactivated nanoparticles restores autophagy under lipotoxicity The Journal of cell biology, 2016; 214(1): 25-34.
Deeney Jude T, Belkina Anna C, Shirihai Orian S, Corkey Barbara E, Denis Gerald V   BET Bromodomain Proteins Brd2, Brd3 and Brd4 Selectively Regulate Metabolic Pathways in the Pancreatic β-Cell PloS one, 2016; 11(3): e0151329.
Fetterman Jessica L, Holbrook Monica, Flint Nir, Feng Bihua, Bretón-Romero Rosa, Linder Erika A, Berk Brittany D, Duess Mai-Ann, Farb Melissa G, Gokce Noyan, Shirihai Orian S, Hamburg Naomi M, Vita Joseph A   Restoration of autophagy in endothelial cells from patients with diabetes mellitus improves nitric oxide signaling Atherosclerosis, 2016; 247(10): 207-17.
Cerqueira Fernanda M, Chausse Bruno, Baranovski Boris M, Liesa Marc, Lewis Eli C, Shirihai Orian S, Kowaltowski Alicia J   Diluted serum from calorie-restricted animals promotes mitochondrial β-cell adaptations and protect against glucolipotoxicity The FEBS journal, 2016; 283(5): 822-33.

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