Liza Makowski, M.M., Ph.D., Principal Investigator
Liza is an Assistant Professor, Division of Nutrition Biochemistry, Departments of Nutrition and Medicine, Gillings School of Global Public Health. She received a Masters in Medicine from Harvard Medical School and her Ph.D. from Harvard School of Public Health. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Duke University Medical Center in the Stedman Center for Nutrition and Metabolism. She has expertise in mitochondrial metabolism, inflammation, and animal and cell culture-based obesity and diabetes research, microarray and metabolomic analysis, and histological analysis of immune cells in tissue. She currently holds a R00 to investigate role of macrophage lipid metabolism and inflammation in obesity, several pilot grants to study fuel transport and macrophage inflammation, and a U01 to examine the obese microenvironment in breast cancer.
Alex J. Freemerman, Ph.D., Research Associate
Alex is the Makowski laboratory manager and lead research associate since he joined in 2009. He holds a Ph.D. in Cell Biology and has more than 15 years of research experience focused on pre-clinical drug discovery, including 10 years as a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Surgery at Duke University Medical Center studying mouse models of cancer. Dr. Freemerman has expertise in xenograft studies, examining macrophage and adipocyte-derived stem cell signaling cascades, biochemical assays, as well as considerable experience in managing rodent colonies, minor rodent surgery and preparation of tissues for immunohistochemistry. Alex leads a project examining the role of glucose transport and metabolism in macrophage and Kupffer cell inflammation.
Amy Johnson, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Fellow
Amy joined the lab in 2012 after completing her Ph.D. in Nutrition Biochemistry at UNC Chapel Hill where she studied mitochondrial metabolism. In the Makowski lab, she is expanding her expertise by working on several projects examining substrate metabolism and the inflammatory response using in vitro and preclinical models.
Sneha Sundaram, PhD., Postdoctoral Fellow
Sneha joined the lab in 2010. She received her Ph.D. inPharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Nebraska Medical Center, Omaha NE in 2009. After a shortpostdoctoral fellowship in the Dept. of Pharmaceutical Sciences at the University of Colorado Denver, Aurora, CO. She has expertise in the formulation of nano- and microparticulate drug delivery systems for intravenous and topical applications, assessing the in vitro and in vivo efficacy of these tools. Sneha joined the Makowski lab to examine post-partum diet-induced obesity and the development of basal-like breast carcinoma. In addition, she has worked on projects including a head and neck tumor biomarker associated with DNA repair, and glycolytic enzymes and macrophage inflammation.
Yuanyuan Qin, Ph.D. Candidate
Yuanyuan is a candidate in the Division of Nutrition Biochemistry, Department of Nutrition doctoral program. She joined the Makowski lab in 2010 as a sanofi-aventis fellow after completing her MS degree at Sun-Yat Sen University in China.
Jimmy Zhang, Volunteer
Jimmy is a UNC undergrad and a graduate of the nationally recognized NC Math and Science High School. He has been a volunteer or employee in the Makowski Lab since the Summer of 2011.