Navdeep S. Chandel is the David W. Cugell Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Cell Biology at Northwestern University. He received his BA in mathematics and Ph.D. in Cell Physiology at the University of Chicago. For decades, the mitochondria have been primarily viewed as biosynthetic and bioenergetic organelles generating metabolites for the production of macromolecules and ATP, respectively. Dr. Chandel’s work has elucidated that mitochondria have a third distinct role whereby they participate in cellular signaling processes through the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and metabolites independent of ATP and macromolecule production. His work has implicated the necessity of mitochondrial ROS for multiple biological processes including cancer cell proliferation, hypoxic activation of HIFs, cellular differentiation, and immune cell function. Previously, the dogma in the field had been that mitochondrial ROS are only produced in pathological settings to cause both cellular and DNA damage. However, Dr. Chandel’s work demonstrates that mitochondrial ROS are utilized as messengers to maintain normal biological and physiological functions. His studies suggest that the current widespread use of antioxidants is likely to be detrimental rather than beneficial for alleviating a myriad of diseases as this could interfere with normal physiological processes. Recently, his work has shown how mitochondrial metabolites influence the epigenome to control stem and immune cell function. Dr. Chandel’s has published over 200 articles and a book entitled “Navigating Metabolism” (Cold Spring Harbor Press). He received NCI outstanding investigator Award in 2016.
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