Marc Liesa-Roig, Ph.D.

A Short Biography:

Marc Liesa-Roig, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in-residence in the Department of Medicine, Division of Endocrinology, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. His laboratory seeks to identify mitochondrial mechanisms adapting and maladapting to metabolic diseases, with the goal to identify novel therapeutic targets. His research on mitochondria is focused in liver, pancreatic beta cells and brown adipose tissue. Dr. Liesa-Roig graduated with honors in Biochemistry at the Universitat de Barcelona (2003). He completed his doctoral studies late 2008 under the supervision of Prof. Antonio Zorzano at the IRB in Barcelona, examining the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics and Mfn2 in skeletal muscle and their role in insulin resistance. He then joined Boston University School Medicine as a post doctoral fellow in 2009, where he became an Instructor in 2013 and an Assistant Professor in 2015. Dr. Liesa-Roig is currently affiliated with the Molecular Biology Institute (MBI), Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology (MCIP) interdepartmental programs and with the Department of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA. 

Work Titles
UCLA Associate Professor In-Residence, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension Member, Molecular Biology Institute
Ph.D., Universitat de Barcelona

Contact Information:

Work Phone Number:


Office Address:

CHS 27-200F, 650 Charles E. Young Dr.
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Research Interest:

The role of mitochondria in metabolic diseases

Mitochondria are the organelles responsible for our need to breathe, as they use oxygen both to transform nutrients into usable energy and to build essential components constituting our bodies. Indeed, mitochondria are semi-autonomous organelles that contain their own genome, which encodes for 13 proteins essential to consume oxygen. For this reason, mitochondrial DNA mutations that blunt their capacity to consume oxygen are responsible of lethal and severe diseases. Moreover, changes in mitochondrial function are detected in neurodegenerative diseases, as well as in pathologies resulting of an imbalance in energy consumption, energy expenditure and nutrient handling, such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, the reduction in mitochondrial function observed with age is considered a major component driving fitness decline with age. In this context, our overarching research goals are: 
1) Define the molecular machinery by which mitochondria can successfully adapt, protect themselves and execute their function in health.
2) Determine when the crosstalk between mitochondria and the redox state contribute to exacerbate metabolic diseases or represent an adaptation preventing their exacerbation.
3) Test whether the manipulation of the molecular machinery modulating and adapting mitochondrial function can be used to treat metabolic diseases.

Measurements of the mitochondrial redox state, dynamics and respiratory capacity

Mitochondrial function determines energetics, signaling and nutrient consumption. In addition, mitochondria are dynamic organelles that move around the cell, fuse to each other and with larger mitochondria splitting into two units. This dynamism not only determines mitochondrial ATP synthesis location and capacity, but it is essential for quality control and removal of damaged units as well. Thus, we use respirometry to determine mitochondrial function and live imaging to visualize mitochondrial dynamics and compartmentalization of the redox state. Approaches include measurements in tissue, intact cells and isolated mitochondria. 


View a up-to-date publication list: PubMed List

A selected list of publications:

Shum Michael, Shintre Chitra A, Althoff Thorsten, Gutierrez Vincent, Segawa Mayuko, Saxberg Alexandra D, Martinez Melissa, Adamson Roslin, Young Margaret R, Faust Belinda, Gharakhanian Raffi, Su Shi, Chella Krishnan Karthickeyan, Mahdaviani Kiana, Veliova Michaela, Wolf Dane M, Ngo Jennifer, Nocito Laura, Stiles Linsey, Abramson Jeff, Lusis Aldons J, Hevener Andrea L, Zoghbi Maria E, Carpenter Elisabeth P, Liesa Marc   ABCB10 exports mitochondrial biliverdin, driving metabolic maladaptation in obesity Science translational medicine, 2021; 13(594): .
Miller Nathanael, Wolf Dane, Alsabeeh Nour, Mahdaviani Kiana, Segawa Mayuko, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S* (*co-corresponding authors)   High-Throughput Image Analysis of Lipid-Droplet-Bound Mitochondria Methods in molecular biology (Clifton, N.J.) , 2021; 2276(594): 285-303.
Ngo Jennifer, Benador Ilan Y, Brownstein Alexandra J, Vergnes Laurent, Veliova Michaela, Shum Michael, Acín-Pérez Rebeca, Reue Karen, Shirihai Orian S*, Liesa Marc* (*co-corresponding authors)   Isolation and functional analysis of peridroplet mitochondria from murine brown adipose tissue STAR protocols, 2021; 2(1): 100243.
Veliova Michaela, Ferreira Caroline M, Benador Ilan Y, Jones Anthony E, Mahdaviani Kiana, Brownstein Alexandra J, Desousa Brandon R, Acín-Pérez Rebeca, Petcherski Anton, Assali Essam A, Stiles Linsey, Divakaruni Ajit S, Prentki Marc, Corkey Barbara E, Liesa Marc*, Oliveira Marcus F*, Shirihai Orian S*. *co-corresponding author   Blocking mitochondrial pyruvate import in brown adipocytes induces energy wasting via lipid cycling EMBO reports, 2020; 9(12): e49634.
Shum Michael, Ngo Jennifer, Shirihai Orian S, Liesa Marc   Mitochondrial oxidative function in NAFLD: friend or foe? Molecular metabolism, 2020; 9(12): 101134.
De Oliveira Matheus Pinto, Liesa Marc   The Role of Mitochondrial Fat Oxidation in Cancer Cell Proliferation and Survival Cells, 2020; 9(12): .
Segawa Mayuko, Wolf Dane M, Hultgren Nan W, Williams David S, van der Bliek Alexander M, Shackelford David B, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Quantification of cristae architecture reveals time-dependent characteristics of individual mitochondria. *co-corresponding authors Life science alliance, 2020; 3(7): e104073.
Veliova Michaela, Petcherski Anton, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   The biology of lipid droplet-bound mitochondria. *co-corresponding authors Seminars in cell & developmental biology, 2020; 3(7): e104073.
van Veen J Edward, Kammel Laura G, Bunda Patricia C, Shum Michael, Reid Michelle S, Massa Megan G, Arneson Douglas, Park Jae W, Zhang Zhi, Joseph Alexia M, Hrncir Haley, Liesa Marc, Arnold Arthur P, Yang Xia, Correa Stephanie M   Hypothalamic estrogen receptor alpha establishes a sexually dimorphic regulatory node of energy expenditure Nature metabolism, 2020; 2(4): 351-363.
Wolf Dane M, Segawa Mayuko, Shirihai Orian S*, Liesa Marc*   Method for live-cell super-resolution imaging of mitochondrial cristae and quantification of submitochondrial membrane potentials. *co-corresponding authors Methods in cell biology, 2020; 155(2): 545-555.
Taddeo Evan P, Alsabeeh Nour, Baghdasarian Siyouneh, Wikstrom Jakob D, Ritou Eleni, Sereda Samuel, Erion Karel, Li Jin, Stiles Linsey, Abdulla Muhamad, Swanson Zachary, Wilhelm Joshua J, Bellin Melena D, Kibbey Richard G, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Mitochondrial Proton Leak Regulated by Cyclophilin D Elevates Insulin Secretion in Islets at Nonstimulatory Glucose Levels. *co-corresponding authors Diabetes, 2020; 69(2): 131-145.
Liesa Marc   Why does a mitochondrion need its individual cristae to be functionally autonomous? Molecular & cellular oncology, 2020; 7(2): 1705119.
Chella Krishnan Karthickeyan, Sabir Simon, Shum Michaël, Meng Yonghong, Acín-Pérez Rebeca, Lang Jennifer M, Floyd Raquel R, Vergnes Laurent, Seldin Marcus M, Fuqua Brie K, Jayasekera Dulshan W, Nand Sereena K, Anum Diana C, Pan Calvin, Stiles Linsey, Péterfy Miklós, Reue Karen, Liesa Marc, Lusis Aldons J   Sex-specific metabolic functions of adipose Lipocalin-2 Molecular metabolism, 2019; 30(3): 30-47.
Wolf Dane M, Segawa Mayuko, Kondadi Arun Kumar, Anand Ruchika, Bailey Sean T, Reichert Andreas S, van der Bliek Alexander M, Shackelford David B, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Individual cristae within the same mitochondrion display different membrane potentials and are functionally independent. *co-corresponding authors The EMBO journal, 2019; 38(22): e101056.
Benador Ilan Y, Veliova Michaela, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Mitochondria Bound to Lipid Droplets: Where Mitochondrial Dynamics Regulate Lipid Storage and Utilization. *co-corresponding authors Cell metabolism, 2019; 29(4): 827-835.
Petcherski Anton, Trudeau Kyle M, Wolf Dane M, Segawa Mayuko, Lee Jennifer, Taddeo Evan P, Deeney Jude T, Liesa Marc   Elamipretide Promotes Mitophagosome Formation and Prevents Its Reduction Induced by Nutrient Excess in INS1 β-cells Journal of molecular biology, 2018; 430(24): 4823-4833.
Taddeo Evan P, Stiles Linsey, Sereda Samuel, Ritou Eleni, Wolf Dane M, Abdullah Muhamad, Swanson Zachary, Wilhelm Josh, Bellin Melena, McDonald Patrick, Caradonna Kacey, Neilson Andrew, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Individual islet respirometry reveals functional diversity within the islet population of mice and human donors. *co-corresponding authors Molecular metabolism, 2018; 16(3): 150-159.
Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Mitochondrial adaptation in obesity is a ClpPicated business. *co-corresponding authors EMBO reports, 2018; 19(6): 869-885.e6.
Benador Ilan Y, Veliova Michaela, Mahdaviani Kiana, Petcherski Anton, Wikstrom Jakob D, Assali Essam A, Acín-Pérez Rebeca, Shum Michaël, Oliveira Marcus F, Cinti Saverio, Sztalryd Carole, Barshop William D, Wohlschlegel James A, Corkey Barbara E, Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Mitochondria Bound to Lipid Droplets Have Unique Bioenergetics, Composition, and Dynamics that Support Lipid Droplet Expansion. *co-corresponding authors Cell metabolism, 2018; 27(4): 869-885.e6.
Cardamone Maria Dafne, Tanasa Bogdan, Cederquist Carly T, Huang Jiawen, Mahdaviani Kiana, Li Wenbo, Rosenfeld Michael G, Liesa Marc, Perissi Valentina   Mitochondrial Retrograde Signaling in Mammals Is Mediated by the Transcriptional Cofactor GPS2 via Direct Mitochondria-to-Nucleus Translocation Molecular cell, 2018; 69(5): 757-772.e7.
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. *co-corresponding authors EMBO reports, 2017; 18(7): 1123-1138.
Liesa Marc*, Shirihai Orian S*   Mitochondrial Networking in T Cell Memory. *co-corresponding authors Cell, 2016; 166(1): 9-10.
Qiu Wei, Liesa Marc*, Carpenter Elizabeth P, Shirihai Orian S*   ATP Binding and Hydrolysis Properties of ABCB10 and Their Regulation by Glutathione. *co-corresponding authors PloS one, 2015; 10(6): e0129772.
Gall Jonathan M, Wang Zhiyong, Bonegio Ramon G, Havasi Andrea, Liesa Marc, Vemula Pradheep, Borkan Steven C   Conditional knockout of proximal tubule mitofusin 2 accelerates recovery and improves survival after renal ischemia Journal of the American Society of Nephrology : JASN, 2015; 26(5): 1092-102.
Wilson Andrew A, Ying Lei, Liesa Marc, Segeritz Charis-Patricia, Mills Jason A, Shen Steven S, Jean Jyhchang, Lonza Geordie C, Liberti Derek C, Lang Alex H, Nazaire Jean, Gower Adam C, Müeller Franz-Josef, Mehta Pankaj, Ordóñez Adriana, Lomas David A, Vallier Ludovic, Murphy George J, Mostoslavsky Gustavo, Spira Avrum, Shirihai Orian S, Ramirez Maria I, Gadue Paul, Kotton Darrell N   Emergence of a stage-dependent human liver disease signature with directed differentiation of alpha-1 antitrypsin-deficient iPS cells Stem cell reports, 2015; 4(5): 873-85.
Nocito Laura, Kleckner Amber S, Yoo Elsia J, Jones Iv Albert R, Liesa Marc, Corkey Barbara E   The extracellular redox state modulates mitochondrial function, gluconeogenesis, and glycogen synthesis in murine hepatocytes PloS one, 2015; 10(3): e0122818.
Wikstrom Jakob D, Mahdaviani Kiana, Liesa Marc, Sereda Samuel B, Si Yaguang, Las Guy, Twig Gilad, Petrovic Natasa, Zingaretti Cristina, Graham Adam, Cinti Saverio, Corkey Barbara E, Cannon Barbara, Nedergaard Jan, Shirihai Orian S   Hormone-induced mitochondrial fission is utilized by brown adipocytes as an amplification pathway for energy expenditure The EMBO journal, 2014; 33(5): 418-36.
Kalghatgi Sameer, Spina Catherine S, Costello James C, Liesa Marc, Morones-Ramirez J Ruben, Slomovic Shimyn, Molina Anthony, Shirihai Orian S, Collins James J   Bactericidal antibiotics induce mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in Mammalian cells Science translational medicine, 2013; 5(192): 192ra85.
Liesa Marc, Shirihai Orian S   Mitochondrial dynamics in the regulation of nutrient utilization and energy expenditure Cell metabolism, 2013; 17(4): 491-506.
Liesa Marc, Qiu Wei, Shirihai Orian S   Mitochondrial ABC transporters function: the role of ABCB10 (ABC-me) as a novel player in cellular handling of reactive oxygen species Biochimica et biophysica acta, 2012; 1823(10): 1945-57.
Blättler Sharon M, Verdeguer Francisco, Liesa Marc, Cunningham John T, Vogel Rutger O, Chim Helen, Liu Huifei, Romanino Klaas, Shirihai Orian S, Vazquez Francisca, Rüegg Markus A, Shi Yang, Puigserver Pere   Defective mitochondrial morphology and bioenergetic function in mice lacking the transcription factor Yin Yang 1 in skeletal muscle Molecular and cellular biology, 2012; 32(16): 3333-46.
Gall Jonathan M, Wang Zhiyong, Liesa Marc, Molina Anthony, Havasi Andrea, Schwartz John H, Shirihai Orian, Borkan Steven C, Bonegio Ramon G B   Role of mitofusin 2 in the renal stress response PloS one, 2012; 7(1): e31074.
Hyde B B*, Liesa M*, Elorza A A, Qiu W, Haigh S E, Richey L, Mikkola H K, Schlaeger T M, Shirihai O S   The mitochondrial transporter ABC-me (ABCB10), a downstream target of GATA-1, is essential for erythropoiesis in vivo Cell death and differentiation, 2012; 19(7): 1117-26.
Sebastián David, Hernández-Alvarez María Isabel, Segalés Jessica, Sorianello Eleonora, Muñoz Juan Pablo, Sala David, Waget Aurélie, Liesa Marc, Paz José C, Gopalacharyulu Peddinti, Orešič Matej, Pich Sara, Burcelin Rémy, Palacín Manuel, Zorzano Antonio   Mitofusin 2 (Mfn2) links mitochondrial and endoplasmic reticulum function with insulin signaling and is essential for normal glucose homeostasis Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 2012; 109(14): 5523-8.
Hu Jian, Hwang Soyoon Sarah, Liesa Marc, Gan Boyi, Sahin Ergun, Jaskelioff Mariela, Ding Zhihu, Ying Haoqiang, Boutin Adam T, Zhang Hailei, Johnson Shawn, Ivanova Elena, Kost-Alimova Maria, Protopopov Alexei, Wang Yaoqi Alan, Shirihai Orian S, Chin Lynda, DePinho Ronald A   Antitelomerase therapy provokes ALT and mitochondrial adaptive mechanisms in cancer Cell, 2012; 148(4): 651-63.
Liesa Marc, Luptak Ivan, Qin Fuzhong, Hyde Brigham B, Sahin Ergun, Siwik Deborah A, Zhu Zhengkun, Pimentel David R, Xu X Julia, Ruderman Neil B, Huffman Karl D, Doctrow Susan R, Richey Lauren, Colucci Wilson S, Shirihai Orian S   Mitochondrial transporter ATP binding cassette mitochondrial erythroid is a novel gene required for cardiac recovery after ischemia/reperfusion Circulation, 2011; 124(7): 806-13.
Yang Shenghong, Wang Xiaoxu, Contino Gianmarco, Liesa Marc, Sahin Ergun, Ying Haoqiang, Bause Alexandra, Li Yinghua, Stommel Jayne M, Dell'antonio Giacomo, Mautner Josef, Tonon Giovanni, Haigis Marcia, Shirihai Orian S, Doglioni Claudio, Bardeesy Nabeel, Kimmelman Alec C   Pancreatic cancers require autophagy for tumor growth Genes & development, 2011; 25(7): 717-29.
Sahin Ergün, Colla Simona, Liesa Marc, Moslehi Javid, Müller Florian L, Guo Mira, Cooper Marcus, Kotton Darrell, Fabian Attila J, Walkey Carl, Maser Richard S, Tonon Giovanni, Foerster Friedrich, Xiong Robert, Wang Y Alan, Shukla Sachet A, Jaskelioff Mariela, Martin Eric S, Heffernan Timothy P, Protopopov Alexei, Ivanova Elena, Mahoney John E, Kost-Alimova Maria, Perry Samuel R, Bronson Roderick, Liao Ronglih, Mulligan Richard, Shirihai Orian S, Chin Lynda, DePinho Ronald A   Telomere dysfunction induces metabolic and mitochondrial compromise Nature, 2011; 470(7334): 359-65.
Twig Gilad, Liu Xingguo, Liesa Marc, Wikstrom Jakob D, Molina Anthony J A, Las Guy, Yaniv Gal, Hajnóczky György, Shirihai Orian S   Biophysical properties of mitochondrial fusion events in pancreatic beta-cells and cardiac cells unravel potential control mechanisms of its selectivity American journal of physiology. Cell physiology, 2010; 299(2): C477-87.
Liesa Marc, Palacín Manuel, Zorzano Antonio   Mitochondrial dynamics in mammalian health and disease Physiological reviews, 2009; 89(3): 799-845.
Liesa Marc, Borda-d'Agua Bárbara, Medina-Gómez Gema, Lelliott Christopher J, Paz José Carlos, Rojo Manuel, Palacín Manuel, Vidal-Puig Antonio, Zorzano Antonio   Mitochondrial fusion is increased by the nuclear coactivator PGC-1beta PloS one, 2008; 3(10): e3613.
Soriano Francesc X, Liesa Marc, Bach Daniel, Chan David C, Palacín Manuel, Zorzano Antonio   Evidence for a mitochondrial regulatory pathway defined by peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-gamma coactivator-1 alpha, estrogen-related receptor-alpha, and mitofusin 2 Diabetes, 2006; 55(6): 1783-91.

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