Principal Investigator

Gerald Shadel

Director, San Diego Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging
Audrey Geisel Chair

Project Scientists

Zheng Hu

Project Scientist

My research interest focuses on innovative and unbiased systems biology approaches, such as genomic, epigenomic and epi-transcriptomic analysis, in order to identify the novel regulators and pathways involved in mitochondrial stress signaling and aging in yeast, mammalian and human cells.
Postdoctoral Fellows

Sagnika Ghosh


I received my PhD in Vishal Gohil’s lab at Texas A&M University, where I studied how mitochondrial membrane lipids impact mitochondrial membrane protein function and bioenergetics and its implications in Barth syndrome, an inherited disorder of lipid metabolism. Following my interest in mitochondrial biology, I joined the Shadel lab, where I am currently exploring how mitochondria shape host-pathogen interactions in infectious diseases.


Nien-Ching Han


I received my Ph.D. from the Ohio State University in Dr. Michael Ibba’s lab, where I studied Aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases and translation fidelity. During my time in graduate school, I became interested in aging hence joined the Shadel lab to pursue my postdoctoral training. My research currently focuses on differential gene expression regarding innate immunity and aged brain in the context of mitochondria.


Kailash Chandra Mangalhara


I received my Ph.D. from Jawaharlal Nehru University, India with a focus on understanding the role of microRNAs in cancer. In the Shadel Lab, I am working on mitochondria-to-nucleus signaling pathways and the role of mitochondrial metabolism in tumor growth, immunogenicity and immunotherapy responses.

Pau Bernat Esparza Moltó

Postdoctoral Fellow

I earned my Ph.D. in Jose M. Cuezva’s lab at Universidad Autonoma de Madrid, where I studied the tissue-specific expression of the ATPase Inhibitory Factor 1, which is the physiological regulator of the mitochondrial ATP synthase, and its role in neuronal function. In the Shadel lab, I continue my research on mitochondrial biology, currently focused on mitochondrial retrograde signaling and its role in innate immune signaling.

Alex Moyzis


Alex Moyzis received her PhD from UCSD in Dr. Asa Gustafsson’s lab, where she studied mitochondrial dynamics and mitophagy in cardiovascular disease. Moyzis was excited to join the Shadel lab, and is currently investigating how targeting various mitochondrial biogenesis and antioxidant pathways can combat T cell exhaustion and improve anti-cancer immune responses.


Laura Newman


I earned my PhD in Rick Kahn’s lab at Emory University, where I studied a small, regulatory GTPase and its functions in mitochondria and mitochondrial dynamics. I joined the Shadel lab so that I could continue studying mitochondria, and I am currently interested in the role of mitochondria in innate immune signaling.

Cara Schiavon


I earned my PhD at Emory University in Rick Kahn’s lab where I studied the role of a small GTPase and its GAP in regulating mitochondrial dynamics. I’m currently studying the role of altered mitochondrial and other organellar dynamics/trafficking in Charot-Marie-Tooth disease.
Graduate Students

Matt Donnelly

Graduate Student

As a MD/PhD student, my interests in the Shadel lab lie at the intersection between basic science and human health. Small amounts of stress to mitochondria can induce long-term adaptive responses that overall benefit the organism. My goals in the lab are to characterize the mechanism behind these adaptive changes and test their potential as interventions for human disease.


Melissa Johnson

Graduate Student

Cancer cells are able to reconfigure their metabolism to support the energy demands of uncontrolled proliferation and promote survival in nonpermissive environments. I am interested in studying how and why this oncogene-directed metabolic reprogramming occurs, and what role it plays in immune evasion through metabolic crosstalk between cancer cells and T cells within the tumor microenvironment.
Research Assistant

Gladys Rojas

Research Assistant II

I received my bachelor’s degree in biology at the University of San Diego. I’m currently involved in different projects in the Shadel lab including understanding the mechanism behind mtDNA release upon mitochondrial stress. In my spare time I like to knit, run and go hiking.

Lab Technician

Sophie McNeil-Spooner

Lab Technician I

I am a first-year undergraduate student at UCSD majoring in chemical engineering. I joined the Shadel Lab in 2021 and hope to pursue a career in research myself, possibly involving alternative energy resources.
Exchange Students

Alva Sainz

Yale PhD Student

Aging is associated with chronic inflammation that contributes to the development and progression of age-related pathologies. Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) has recently been identified as a pathogenic signal that is able to activate several pro-inflammatory signaling pathways. My work involves investigating the contribution of mtDNA signaling to the aging process and understanding how this signaling is regulated.
Lab Manager

Kym Miller

Lab Manager

I obtained my PhD in Immunology from the University of California, Irvine and did my postdoc at Institut Pasteur, Paris. I joined the Shadel lab as lab coordinator in 2019 with the aim of investigating the role of mitochondria in innate immune responses. My favorites in life are Bisous (my dog), cheese, and the occasional liquid brunch with friends.

Laboratory Alumni

Zheng Wu

Yale PhD Student