Rong Tian, MD, PhD

  • Director of Mitochondria and Metabolism Center

  • Professor of Anesthesiology & Pain Medicine, and Bioengineering

  • Adjunct Professor, Biochemistry and Pathology

Research Interests

My research focuses on the molecular mechanisms regulating cell metabolism and energetics.  A long-term goal of my laboratory is to understand the role of mitochondria and metabolism in the pathogenesis of human diseases, in particular cardiovascular diseases.We have utilized molecular and genetic approaches to identify and perturb specific regulators in the key pathways of cardiac energy metabolism in mice and subsequently interrogated the physiological and biochemical responses in vivo during the development of heart failure using multi-nuclear NMR spectroscopy.  Our past work focused on the oxidative metabolism and mitochondrial ATP synthesis in heart failure using mouse models of altered glucose and fatty acid metabolism in the heart. Our recent work seeks to decipher the mechanistic links between impaired oxidative phosphorylation and mitochondria-triggered cell death during chronic stresses. Results of these studies identified an important role of cellular redox state in diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction including cardiovascular and neurological pathologies.

The three key areas are:

  • Energy metabolism in cardiovascular diseases
  • Mitochondrial dysfunction and metabolic signaling
  • Metabolic mechanisms of immunity, obesity and resilience to stress

Rong Tian describes her path to becoming a leader in Cardiovascular Science in the following article featured in Circulation Research:

Honors and Awards

2004           Young Investigator Award of the American Physiological Society
2003-07       Established Investigator of the American Heart Association
2008           Elected to American Society of Clinical Investigation
2010           Distinguished Achievement Award of the American Heart Association Basic Science Council
2017           College of Fellows, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering
2017           Research Achievement Award of the International Society for Heart Research
2017           Bernard and Joan Marshall Distinguished Investigator, British Society for CV Research
2019           Berne Distinguished Lectureship of American Physiological Society


All publications can be found at the following link:  All Publications

Selected Publications

  • Zhou B, Tian R. Mitochondrial dysfunction in pathophysiology of heart failure. J Clin Invest. 2018 Aug 31; 128(9):3716-3726. doi: 10.1172/JCI120849. Epub 2018 Aug 20. PMID: 30124471
  • Shao D, Villet O, Zhang Z, Choi SW, Yan J, Ritterhoff J, Gu H, Djukovic D, Christodoulou D, Kolwicz SC Jr, Raftery D, Tian R. Glucose promotes cell growth by suppressing branched-chain amino acid degradation. Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 26; 9(1):2935. doi: 10.1038/s 41467-018-05362-7. PMID: 30050148
  • Schweppe DK, Chavez JD, Lee CF, Caudal A, Kruse SE, Stuppard R, Marcinek DJ, Shadel GS, Tian R, Bruce Mitochondrial protein interactome elucidated by chemical cross-­linking mass spectrometry. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2017 Feb 14;114(7):1732-­1737. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1617220114. PMID: 28130547
  • Li T, Zhang Z, Kolwicz Jr. SC, Abell L, Roe ND, Kim M, Zhou B, Cao Y, Ritterhoff J, Gu H, Raftery D, Sun H, Tian R. Defective branched-­chain amino acid (BCAA) catabolism disrupts glucose metabolism and sensitizes the heart to ischemia-­reperfusion injury. Cell Metab. 2017 Feb 7; 25(2):374-­385. PMID: 28178567
  • Lee CF, Chavez J, Garcia-­Menendez L, Choi YS, Roe N, Chiao YA, Edgar J, Goo YA, Goodlett, Bruce J, Tian Normalization of NAD+ Redox Balance as a Therapy for Heart Failure. Circulation 2016 Sep 201; 34(12):883-­94. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.116.022495. Epub 2016 Aug 3. PMID:27489254
  • Kolwicz Jr. SC, Purohit S, Tian R. Cardiac Metabolism and its Interactions with Contraction, Growth, and Survival of Cardiomyocytes. Circ Res. 2013 Aug 16; 113(5):603—16. PMCID: PMC3845521.
  • Karamanlidis G, Lee CF, Garcia-­Menendez L, Kolwicz Jr. SC, Suthammarak W, Gong G, Sedensky MM, Morgan PG, Wang W, Tian R. Mitochondria Complex I Deficiency Increases Protein Acetylation and Accelerates Heart Failure. Cell Metab. 2013 Aug 6;18(2):239-­50. PMCID: PMC3779647.

Laboratory:  Tian Lab

Contact Information

Mitochondria and Metabolism Center
850 Republican Street, Room N130
University of Washington, Box 358057
Seattle, WA 98109-8057
Phone: 206-543-8982
Fax: 206-616-4819
Email: Rong Tian

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