Assistant Professor, Molecular Biology and Genetics
Zeribe Nwosu is an NIH Cornell Faculty Institutional Recruitment for Sustainable Transformation (FIRST) Assistant Professor in the Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics. He obtained his PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology from the University of Heidelberg, Germany, where he studied liver cancer metabolism in the lab of Prof. Steven Dooley. Thereafter, he joined the labs of Dr. Costas Lyssiotis and Prof. Marina Pasca di Magliano at the University of Michigan, where he did postdoctoral research focusing on pancreatic cancer metabolism, the role of tumor microenvironment and therapeutic prospects of targeting metabolism. He joined the faculty at Cornell in 2023. He is a member of the graduate fields of Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology (BMCB) and Genetics, Genomics and Development (GGD).
The Nwosu lab focuses on cancer metabolism and therapy. The goal of the lab is to identify and study novel mechanisms through which cancer cells acquire/use nutrients and to explore strategies for disrupting such processes for cancer therapy. Specific interests include to identify and characterize nutrient transporters, novel enzymes, oncogenic signaling, transcriptional or epigenetic regulators or cellular components in the tumor microenvironment (e.g., immune cells, fibroblasts) that facilitate cancer cells ability to ‘feed’ and grow. We are also interested in pursuing novel molecular targets by integrating functional genomics and drug screening using cancer models. The lab is mainly focused on pancreatic cancer. Methods include metabolomics and other omics techniques, gene interference (e.g., CRISPR/Cas9, shRNA, siRNA), growth and other phenotypic assays, cell culture, mouse models, microscopy, flow cytometry, histology, and bioinformatics.
Research Questions and Interests
The sort of questions that capture the lab’s overall interest and direction are:
- How do cancer cells feed and what do they preferably feed on?
- When the preferred nutrient is limited or lacking, which alternative nutrients enable cancer cells to still survive?
- Which transporters mainly enable cancer cells to acquire nutrients and grow?
- Which transcriptional and or epigenetic factors are the master regulators of cancer metabolism and growth?
- How could cancer metabolism be exploited to overcome drug resistance in cancer?
- Does metabolic diseases such as diabetes and obesity impact cancer?
- Does the consumption of certain diets impact cancer and can that be exploited to treat cancer?
- Are there new or existing drugs that can selectively block nutrient acquisition in cancer to improve therapy?
Undergraduate students, research fellows (including prospective postdoctoral fellows) and potential collaborators that are interested in the above or similar research questions should please feel free to contact Dr. Zeribe Nwosu directly. Graduate students are advised to first check the websites of the graduate fields of Biochemistry, Molecular, and Cell Biology (BMCB) and Genetics, Genomics and Development (GGD), and apply directly to those fields if eligible.
2007 Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science, Ebonyi State University, Nigeria
2012 MSc in Biomedical Science, London Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
2017 PhD in Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of Heidelberg, Germany
2023 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, University of Michigan, USA
Awards & Honors
2023 American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Scholar-in-Training Award
2023 Bishr Omary Physiology Senior Postdoctoral Fellow Research Award
2023 Einstein Excellence in Career Enrichment Leadership (ExCEL) Scholar Award
2022 NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Career Development Award
2021 Outstanding Postdoctoral Fellow Award
2021 AACR NextGen Star
2019 Michigan Pioneer Fellowship
2013 Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Postgraduate Scholarship
- Nwosu ZC, Ward MH, Sajjakulnukit P, Poudel P, Ragulan C, Kasperek S, Radyk M, Sutton D, Menjivar RE, Andren A, Apiz-Saab JJ, Tolstyka Z, Brown K, Lee HJ, Dzierozynski LN, He X, Ps H, Ugras J, Nyamundanda G, Zhang L, Halbrook CJ, Carpenter ES, Shi J, Shriver LP, Patti GJ, Muir A, Pasca di Magliano M, Sadanandam A, Lyssiotis CA. Uridine-derived ribose fuels glucose-restricted pancreatic cancer. Nature. 2023; 618(7963):151-158. PMID: 37198494
- Menjivar RE, Nwosu ZC, Du W, Donahue KL, Hong HS, Espinoza C, Brown K, Velez-Delgado A, Yan W, Lima F, Bischoff A, Kadiyala P, Salas-Escabillas D, Crawford HC, Bednar F, Carpenter E, Zhang Y, Halbrook CJ, Lyssiotis CA, Pasca di Magliano M. Arginase 1 is a key driver of immune suppression in pancreatic cancer. Elife. 2023; 12:e80721. PMID: 36727849
- Bian Y, Li W, Kremer DM, Sajjakulnukit P, Li S, Crespo J, Nwosu ZC, Zhang L, Czerwonka A, Pawłowska A, Xia H, Li J, Liao P, Yu J, Vatan L, Szeliga W, Wei S, Grove S, Liu JR, McLean K, Cieslik M, Chinnaiyan AM, Zgodziński W, Wallner G, Wertel I, Okła K, Kryczek I, Lyssiotis CA, Zou W. Cancer SLC43A2 alters T cell methionine metabolism and histone methylation. Nature. 2020; 585(7824):277-282. PMID: 32879489
- Nwosu ZC, Piorońska W, Battello N, Zimmer AD, Dewidar B, Han M, Pereira S, Blagojevic B, Castven D, Charlestin V, Holenya P, Lochead J, De La Torre C, Gretz N, Sajjakulnukit P, Zhang L, Ward MH, Marquardt JU, di Magliano MP, Lyssiotis CA, Sleeman J, Wölfl S, Ebert MP, Meyer C, Hofmann U, Dooley S. Severe metabolic alterations in liver cancer lead to ERK pathway activation and drug resistance. EBioMedicine. 2020; 54:102699. PMID: 32330875
- Zhang Y, Lazarus J, Steele NG, Yan W, Lee HJ, Nwosu ZC, Halbrook CJ, Menjivar RE, Kemp SB, Sirihorachai VR, Velez-Delgado A, Donahue K, Carpenter ES, Brown KL, Irizarry-Negron V, Nevison AC, Vinta A, Anderson MA, Crawford HC, Lyssiotis CA, Frankel TL, Bednar F, Pasca di Magliano M. Regulatory T-cell depletion alters the tumor microenvironment and accelerates pancreatic carcinogenesis. Cancer Discovery. 2020; 10(3):422-439. PMID: 31911451
365 Biotechnology Building
Ithaca, NY 14853
zcnwosu [at] cornell.edu
Biochemistry, Molecular and Cell Biology
Genetics and Development