Natalie Porat-Shliom, Ph.D.

Natalie Porat-Shliom, Ph.D.
Stadtman Investigator
Head, Cell Biology and Imaging Section

Dr. Porat-Shliom is a cell biologist with expertise in light microscopy techniques, particularly, intravital microscopy. Her lab uses a combination of molecular, biochemical and imaging approaches to investigate the principles underlying mitochondrial structure and function and the changes under pathological conditions such as cellular transformation.

Areas of Expertise

1) mitochondria biology, 2) intravital microscopy, 3) signal transduction, 4) liver physiology, 5) metabolism

Contact Info

Natalie Porat-Shliom, Ph.D.
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10, Room 12C207 MSC 1919
Bethesda, MD 20892
Ph: 240-760-6847

Despite diurnal fluctuations in nutrient availability, hepatocytes adjust their metabolic output to maintain glucose and lipid homeostasis. At the heart of this metabolic adaptation are mitochondria, where fuel selection and oxidation occur. Mitochondria demonstrate remarkable plasticity to respond appropriately to the environmental demands placed on them. This metabolic flexibility is vital for cell and organ function in normal physiology, and its impairment can result in disease. The Porat-Shliom lab is interested in fundamental questions related to mitochondrial biology in the liver. How are mitochondrial structure and function regulated? What are the environmental cues/stressors that induce these mitochondrial alterations? And, in turn, how are mitochondrial structure and function disrupted in human disease?

To address these questions, we leverage our expertise in Intravital microscopy, where we use advanced light microscopy modalities together with precise surgical procedures to examine biological processes in live, anesthetized animals. In combination with mouse genetics, pharmacological perturbation and diet-induced metabolic stress, we study mitochondrial responses in intact liver tissue. These studies offer valuable insights into the healthy physiology of mitochondrial function and plasticity, as well as providing the foundation to understand the drivers of mitochondrial dysfunction in liver disease.

We are particularly interested in Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) which affects 1 in 4 people worldwide and is one of the leading causes of liver cancer. Patients suffering from NAFLD have an impaired ability for the liver to switch between the feeding and fasting state to control glucose homeostasis, due in part, to defective mitochondria. Ultimately, our studies will lead to novel therapeutic avenues and clinical applications in cancer research.

NIH Scientific Focus Areas:
Cancer Biology, Cell Biology
View Dr. Porat-Shliom's PubMed Summary

Selected Key Publications

  1. Porat-Shliom N, Harding O, Malec L, Narayan K, Weigert R
    iScience. 11: 440–449, 2019. [ Journal Article ]
  2. Meyer K, Ostrenko O, Bourantas G, Morales-Navarrete H, Porat-Shliom N, Segovia-Miranda F, Nonaka H, Ghaemi A, Verbavatz JM, Brusch L, Sbalzarini I, Kalaidzidis Y, Weigert R and Zerial M.
    Cell Systems. 4: 277–290, 2017. [ Journal Article ]
  3. Porat-Shliom N, Tietgens AJ, Van Itallie CM, Vitale-Cross L, Jarnik M, Harding OJ, Anderson JM, Gutkind JS, Weigert R, and Arias IM.
    Hepatology. 64(4): 1317-29, 2016. [ Journal Article ]
  4. Porat-Shliom N, Chen Y, Tora M, Shitara A, Masedunskas A, and Weigert R.
    Cell Rep. 9(2): 514-521, 2014. [ Journal Article ]
  5. Weigert R, Porat-Shliom N, and Amornphimoltham P.
    J Cell Biol. 201(7): 969-979, 2013. [ Journal Article ]

Dr. Porat-Shliom received her B.Sc. in biology, M.Sc. in neurobiology and Ph.D. in cell biology from Tel-Aviv University, Israel. Her Ph.D. research was performed at the NIH, through the Graduate Partnerships Program, under the supervision of Prof. Yoel Kloog (Tel Aviv University) and Dr. Julie Donaldson (NHLBI, NIH). For her postdoctoral training, Dr. Porat-Shliom joined the laboratory of Dr. Roberto Weigert (NCI, NIH) where she specialized in intravital microscopy studying mitochondria in the salivary gland for which she received the NIH Pathway to independence Award (K99/R00). In 2018, Dr. Porat-Shliom joined as a Tenure Track Investigator.

Name Position
Constance Cultraro Ph.D. Biologist
Rory Cunningham Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)
Sun Woo Sophie Kang, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow (Visiting)