Michael Lazarus

Michael Lazarus, PhD

  • ASSISTANT PROFESSOR | Pharmacological Sciences

Research Topics:

Biochemistry, Cancer, Drug Design and Discovery, Neuro-degeneration/protection, Structural Biology

Our lab is looking at how cells respond to nutrient changes and how we can exploit these mechanisms in human diseases including cancer and diabetes. Our approach is a multidisciplinary one that uses biochemistry, x-ray crystallography, and pharmacology to study these systems.

autophagy_closeup_view_1We are interested in two main areas that respond to nutrient status. The first is a pathway called autophagy, a conserved process whereby cellular components are degraded for energy, building blocks, and quality control. We are interested in developing tools to modulate autophagy in cells, and in evaluating autophagy inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for cancer. We have developed small molecule inhibitors of kinases that control this pathway.




OGT-structureThe second area we are focused on is the unusual nutrient-sensing glycosyltransferase O-GlcNAc Transferase (OGT). This enzyme responds to levels of glucose and other nutrients by dynamically glycosylating cellular signaling components and epigenetic modulating enzymes. This single enzyme glycosylates over 1,000 nucleocytoplasmic substrates through unknown mechanisms. We are interested in using biochemical and crystallographic approaches to understand the mechanisms that link glucose levels and epigenetic regulation.




Multi-Disciplinary Training Areas

Cancer Biology [CAB], Pharmacology and Therapeutics Discovery [PTD]


BS, Yale University

PhD, Harvard University