Mitochondrial Epigenetics: Surprising Roles in mtDNA Structure, Mitochondrial Function and Metastasis
Lisa S. Shock, Ph.D., joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology as an Assistant Professor in January 2017. She was recently appointed as the Graduate Program Director and serves on the Graduate Curriculum Committee for the Department of Microbiology and Immunology. She is the Course Director for two courses offered in the MICR Department: MICR 607 Techniques in Molecular Biology and Genetics, and MICR 684 Molecular Biology of Cancer. She is also a member of the Cancer Molecular Genetics Program at the Massey Cancer Center.
Dr. Shock received her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology from Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine, working under the supervision of Dr. Shirley Taylor. The findings from her graduate work were published in a seminal 2011 paper in Proc Natl Acad Sci, which launched an exciting new area of study: mitochondrial epigenetics. She did her postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia under the supervision of Drs. David R. Jones (Dept of Surgery) and Marty W. Mayo (Dept of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics), where she used patient samples and in vivomouse models to investigate mechanisms of NSCLC metastasis. She returned to VCU for a second post-doctoral training opportunity, under the supervision of John C. Hackett (Dept of Physiology and Biophysics), where she studied membrane binding and enzyme catalysis of the enigmatic cytochrome P450 3A4.
Dr. Shock’s research program focuses on the molecular mechanisms underlying epigenetic modification of mitochondrial DNA. Using novel cell lines and genetic models, the lab is working to understand the functional consequences of altering mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) methylation, including impacts on mtDNA structure, mitochondrial transcription, and cell metabolism. Of particular interest is how aberrant mtDNA methylation contributes to tumor progression.
During her training, Dr. Shock received a T-32 Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (NRSA) postdoctoral fellowship from the NIH, and a NHLBI Mitochondrial Biology award. She is a member of the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB), the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Her laboratory is funded by the American Cancer Society, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU School of Medicine.