Associate Professor 





Room 2417, IBio Center 6135 Woodward Ave., Detroit, MI 48202

Office Address

Room 2417, IBio Center
6135 Woodward Ave.,
Detroit, MI 48202


Aaron Lotvola



Research Interests

Cancer metabolism
Metabolic signaling

Research Description

We are interested in the metabolic regulation of cellular behaviors. Metabolism is fundamental to life, which not only supplies materials and energy to build cells but also derives metabolic signals to coordinate cellular activities. Cancer cells face severe metabolic challenges in their unconventional proliferation and often develop unique dependence on the specific metabolic pathway(s) wherein there exist tremendous opportunities for revolutionizing cancer therapies. Current projects of the lab are geared towards understanding the two following areas for cancer metabolism. 1) serine catabolism and one-carbon metabolism; 2) triglyceride hydrolysis (lipolysis) and metabolic regulation. In the serine/one-carbon projects, we are focusing on elucidating the mechanism by which mitochondrial respiration is dependent on the serine-mediated generation of the one-carbon unit. We believe these works will shed light on the understanding of how the primary biosynthesis and bioenergetics pathways are coordinated in the cells. In the lipolysis projects, we are interested in pursuing how the lipolysis-derived metabolic signals inhibit the major biosynthetic pathways, such as proteinogenesis and lipogenesis, with potential implications in tumor suppression.

Recent Publications

Chen G, Wang J. A regulatory circuitry locking pluripotent stemness to embryonic stem cell: Interaction between threonine catabolism and histone methylation. Semin Cancer Biol. 2019; 57:72-8.

Lucas S, Chen G, Aras S, Wang J. Serine catabolism is essential to maintain mitochondrial respiration in mammalian cells. Life Sci Alliance. 2018;1:e201800036.

Chen G, Wu J, Li J, Wang J. Identification and characterization of glycine decarboxylase as a direct target of snail in the epithelial–mesenchymal transition of cancer cells. Tumor and Microenvironment. 2018;1:55.

Chen G, Zhou G, Aras S, He Z, Lucas S, Podgorski I, Skar W, Granneman JG, Wang J. Loss of ABHD5 promotes the aggressiveness of prostate cancer cells. Sci Rep. 2017;7:13021.

Wang J, Pantopoulos K. Regulation of cellular iron metabolism. Biochem J. 2011;434:365-81.

Wang J, Alexander P, Wu L, Hammer R, Cleaver O, McKnight SL. Dependence of mouse embryonic stem cells on threonine catabolism. Science. 2009;325:435-9.


MD, 1989, Tongji Medical University
PhD, Experimental Medicine, 2005, McGill University
Postdoctoral, Biochemistry, 2005-2011, the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center 

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