Orian Shirihai

Orian Shirihai

Professor, Medicine, University of California Los Angeles

Professor, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology, University of California Los Angeles


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


Chair and Professor, Endocrinology, Diabetes and Hypertension
Member, I3T Theme, Molecular, Cellular & Integrative Physiology GPB Home Area


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.