Damaris Lorenzo, PhD

Damaris Lorenzo, PhD

Assistant Professor
UNC-Chapel Hill 

5341C MBRB
Campus Box 7545
Chapel Hill, NC 27599-7545


Education and Training

University of Havana, Biochemistry, BS
University of Havana, Plant Molecular Biology, MS
University of Minnesota, Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics, PhD
Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Duke University, Postdoctoral

Areas of Interest

Cytoskeletal-associated proteins are critical for the maintenance of cellular homeostasis, and their involvement in cancer and in numerous neurodegenerative, neurodevelopmental, psychiatric, heart, muscular, and metabolic disorders underscores their functional relevance. 

Our lab investigates the contribution of the cytoskeleton to key physiological processes and the mechanistic basis of cytoskeleton-associated disorders. Our goal is to understand the roles of cytoskeletal proteins in the regulation of cellular dynamics and bioenergetics in metabolically active tissues as well as their involvement in brain development and connectivity. Our initial efforts focus on the ankyrin and spectrin families of cytoskeletal-associated proteins, which deficits have direct implications in the regulation of cell migration, in metabolic disorders such as obesity and diabetes, and may also underlie neurological diseases, including spinocerebellar ataxias, autism and West syndrome.  

We combine human genetics, cellular and biochemistry approaches with Omics technologies and high resolution imaging-based assays in primary cells and in animal models of development and human disease.

Awards and Honors

2018  National Ataxia Foundation Young Investigator Award
2018  Junior Faculty Development Award, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
2016  Simmons Scholar, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill
2015  ASCB annual meeting Travel Award
2013  Keystone Symposia Scholarship.
2012  First place (postdoctoral) poster competition (ASCB annual meeting).
2008  National Ataxia Foundation Travel Award
2007  NIH/NINDS Ruth L. Kirschstein Predoctoral Fellowship


Cell Biology and Physiology Curriculum
Neurobiology Curriculum
Department of Nutrition (Adjunct faculty)