Marcinek Lab


David Marcinek, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Principal Investigator

Research interests: Mitochondria, Redox biology, Skeletal muscle, Chronic disease


David Marcinek received his Ph.D. from Stanford University studying muscle metabolism in endothermic and ectothermic fish species. He came to the UW to work with Kevin Conley as a postdoctoral fellow where they developed NMR and optical spectroscopy tools to study the effects of age on skeletal muscle energetics. Since becoming faculty in the Department of Radiology he has been focused on the interaction between mitochondrial oxidative stress and energy metabolism in health and disease.

1989-1993 – B.A., Biology, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI
1993-2000 – Ph.D., Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
2000-2005 – Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Rudy Stuppard
Research Technologist, Lab Manager

Matthew Campbell, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow

Research Interests: Aging, Bioenergetics, Muscle mechanics


Matt is interested in mechanisms of oxidative stress that contribute to changes of protein expression, activity, interactions, and function in aging skeletal muscle. His research focuses on reversible redox-sensitive protein modifications that modulate in vivo bioenergetics and contribute to skeletal muscle functional decline with age.

Ana Valencia, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow

Research interests: Nutrition, Mitochondria, Aging


Ana Valencia joined the Marcinek Laboratory in 2017 after receiving her Ph.D. in Kinesiology from the University of Maryland in College Park. Her main interest is investigating how diet stress impacts aging skeletal muscle function and regeneration. Ana’s current project focuses on how aging skeletal muscle responds to high fat and high sugar diets, and explores how mitochondrial oxidative stress mediates these effects.

Gustavo Reyes
Lab Technician

Research Interests: Muscle aging


An LA native, Gustavo moved to Washington in 2013 to attend the University of Puget Sound. After graduating with a degree in Chemistry, he began working in the Marcinek Lab with hope of gaining medicinal research experience while figuring out which path in life to take.

Research Interests/Responsibilities: Focused mainly on working with Drosophila. Responsibilities include starting up and working out the kinks of new experiments, as well as helping others in the lab as needed.

Project Description: Energy provided in the form of ATP allows biological processes to overcome activation barriers and provides a tool to drive life. Mitochondria produce ATP utilizing a process known as oxidative phosphorylation where ADP in converted into ATP through ATP Synthase, complex V of the electron transport chain. SS-31 is a mitochondrial-targeted peptide that has been shown to improve mitochondrial function through interactions in the inner-mitochondrial membrane, though its specificity has yet to be fully understood. This project aims to study the effects of SS-31 on ATP Synthase activity by applying Michaelis-Menten Kinetics while measuring oxygen consumption levels during subsequent ADP titrations done on SS-31 treated cardiac and skeletal muscle mitochondria.

Alicia Hendrix
Graduate Student

Research Interests: Environmental toxicology, excitotoxicity, harmful algal bloom toxins


After receiving a B.A. from Scripps College in CA in 2013, Alicia studied coral reef ecosystems and sustainable fisheries in the Caribbean before returning to school in 2017.  Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Environmental Toxicology, Alicia studies neurotoxins produced by marine algal blooms.  Her current project concerns mechanisms underlying chronic toxicity of domoic acid in mammalian models.

Kevin Nguyen
Undergraduate Research Assistant

Research Interests: Mitochondria and disease


Kevin is a third-year undergraduate majoring in Physiology at the University of Washington. He is interested in learning about physiological systems, how they are built from molecular to systemic levels, and physiological outcomes that emerge when certain parts of the system change or fail. Kevin aspires to work in medicine one day in order to engage in lifelong learning, mentoring and teaching others, and dedicating compassion and impartiality toward the improvement of patient well-being.

Responsibilities: Colony maintenance; genotyping (PCR); Analyze force frequency, fatigue, and other muscle function components in SOD mice.

Martha Mathiason
IT Specialist


Kathi Lefebvre, Ph.D.
Research Biologist, NOAA/NMFSC

Research Interests: Trophic transfer of algal toxins


Kathi received a B.A. in Biology from Whitworth College in 1989, an M.S. in Marine Science from Moss Landing Marine Laboratories in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Biology from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 2001. She began working at the Northwest Fisheries Science Center as a National Academy of Sciences NRC Post-doctoral Fellow in 2001. She is currently a Supervisory Research Biologist in the Exposure Assessment and Diagnostics Group and PI on a National Institutes of Health (NIH)/ National Science Foundation (NSF) joint RO1 for developing a novel antibody-based biomarker for toxicity of chronic exposure to a common seafood toxin. Collaborators for the project include the University of Washington and the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Sophia Liu at 2018 Shanghai International Marathon

Sophia Liu, Ph.D.
Senior Fellow

Research interests: Exercise physiology, Muscle aging, Mitochondria energetics


Sophia’s research interests are the underlying mechanisms of sarcopenia in aging and exercise and/or drug interventions as a potent countermeasure for age related disease. She is currently working to evaluate the impact of a nutriceutical with anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties on skeletal muscle energetics and function in healthy elderly.

Ph.D., Human Bioenergetics, Ball State University
M.S., Exercise Science, Central Washington University
B.S., Pharmacology, Tianjin University of Traditional Medicine

Lab Alumni

Andrew Yeh, Ph.D. – Associate in Toxicology & Epidemiology Group, Gradient Consulting

Philip Kramer, Ph.D. – Postdoctoral Fellow, Wake Forest School of Medicine

Ashton Samuelson – Medical student

Gary Knowels – Middle school teacher

Bridget Ferriss, Ph.D. – Research Associate, National Research Council, NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Shane Kruse, Ph.D.

Jacqueline Robinson-Hamm, Ph.D. – Clinical Trials Results Analyst,

Michael Siegel, Ph.D. – Senior Vice President of Research and Clinical Affairs, National Psoriasis Foundation