Headshot of Gerald Shadel wearing a maroon collared shirt and a gray blazer

Gerald Shadel, PhD

Director, San Diego-Nathan Shock Center of Excellence in the Basic Biology of Aging, Audrey Geisel Chair in Biomedical Science, Professor Molecular and Cell Biology


Gerald Shadel studies the basic biology of mitochondria and mtDNA, and, in doing so, has identified novel ways that mitochondria contribute to disease, aging and the immunesystem. He is also interested in understanding how mitochondria are involved in cellular signaling processes. He seeks to identify what the signals are, what pathways they trigger and how they play a part in aging, cancer and metabolic and degenerative diseases. His group takes a multidisciplinary view, exploring mitochondrial function—and dysfunction—via cultured cells, model organisms and other genetic and biochemical approaches.

Shadel has elucidated context-specific ways that mitochondria and the reactive oxygen species (ROS) they produce are involved in the neurodegenerative disease ataxia-telangiectasia (A-T), maternally inherited deafness, aging and cancer.

He also discovered that mtDNA, which is derived from an ancient bacterium, can trigger the immune system if exposed to the rest of the cell, causing antiviral and other defensive responses. Image courtesy Nature Reviews Immunology.

He is currently studying adaptive responses to mitochondrial stress in mammals, based on his discovery in yeast that mitochondrial ROS signals induce changes in gene expression in the cell nucleus that extend this organism’s life span.

On The Web

Greg Shadel at Salk Institute: