Damaris Lorenzo, PhD

Assistant Professor
UNC-Chapel Hill

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

2019 American Diabetes Association Junior Faculty Development Award
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

Affiliations

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

Publications