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Graduate School

The George Liepa Sigma Xi Speaker Series

The George Liepa Sigma Xi Annual Speaker Series Endowed Fund at Eastern Michigan University presents:

Dr. Sophia Lunt "Starving Cancer Away: Deciphering Metabolic Rewiring in Cancer"

sigmaxi Thursday, March 15, 2018

7:00-8:00 p.m.

EMU Student Center  Auditorium

900 Oakwood Ave Ypsilanti, MI 48197


Dr. Sophia Lunt is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University. She received her Ph.D. from Princeton University, where she uncovered the metabolic consequences of the anti-metabolite drug trimethoprim. As a postdoctoral fellow at MIT, she was awarded the DoD CDMRP PRCRP Visionary Postdoctoral Fellowship to investigate the role of specific pyruvate kinase isoform expression in cancer.  She has publications in top journals including Nature , Molecular Cell , and Annual Review of Cell and Developmental Biology . Her laboratory at Michigan State University focuses on understanding the role of metabolism in supporting cancer proliferation, heterogeneity, and metastasis. Her team combines powerful mass spectrometry, cell biology, and genetic models of cancer to investigate metabolic regulation in this complex disease. Dr. Lunt aims to rationally design more effective, personalized therapies for cancer based on metabolic targeting.

"Starving Cancer Away: Deciphering Metabolic Rewiring in Cancer"


Metabolism, the process of converting nutrients into energy and building blocks of life, is distinctly abnormal in cancers. Many cancers metabolize sugar differently than normal cells, and this key metabolic difference is known as the Warburg effect. The Warburg effect forms the basis for cancer diagnosis using PET imaging, but a definitive explanation for how it benefits cancer cells remains elusive and is not exploited it for therapy. To target abnormal metabolism in cancer treatment, Dr. Lunt works to elucidate metabolic pathways indispensable for cancer growth. Her team investigates metabolic rewiring in cancer by integrating mass spectrometry-based metabolomics, genome editing, patient data, and pre-clinical models of cancer. This work will lead to development of new treatment strategies targeting metabolic pathways to provide additional treatment options for cancer patients.

Dessert Reception Immediately Following

For more information please contact:The Graduate School at 734-487-0042 or This event is free and open to the public. 


The George Liepa Sigma XI Speaker Series Endowed Fund was established in 2011 in memory of Dr. George LiepaGeorge was an active campus member of Sigma Xi, a professor of human nutrition and a department head in the College of Health and Human Services. When the Graduate Research Fair was created, it was his idea to have a science-related speaker present at the end of the day.  George secured funding from Sigma Xi National to start the event and was a key figure in helping to select the annual speaker as well as marketing the event to EMU students, faculty, and local high schools.

If you would like to make a specific donation to the George Liepa Sigma Xi Speaker Series, click "Donate" and search fund #01948.


Previous George Liepa Sigma Xi Speakers:

March 23, 2017 - Marie S. O’Neill, “Climate Change and Health: Research and Partnerships for Action”

November 17, 2016 - David Cappelleri, “Robots Deliver Results: Multi-Scale Robotics and Automation, from the Large to the Microscopic”

November 19, 2015 - Dana Dolinoy, “Your Epigenome: DNA is not Necessarily Your Destiny”

November 13, 2014 - Gary Huffnagel, “Your Gut: So Much More Than a Digestive System”

March 18, 2013 - Donald Beitz, "Genetic Regulation of Bovine Milk Fatty Acid Composition: Improving the Healthfulness of Milk through Selection"

March 26, 2012 - Jeanette Hasse, "Nutrition Strategies to Improve Organ Transplant Outcomes"

March 21, 2011 - Carol Ireton-Jones, "Malnutrition, Inflammation & Energy Metabolism"

March 16, 2010 - Elizabeth Friedman, "Archaeological Science: Forging Common Ground across Academic Disciplines"

March 23, 2009 - Norman G. Hord, "Dietary Guide to Prevent Cancer"

March 24, 2008 - Jeanette Adams, "Preserving the Nation’s Cultural Heritage through Chemistry: Analytical Materials Science at the Library of Congress"

March 26, 2007 - William S. Harris, "The Cardioprotective Effects of Fish Oils: Consensus and Controversies"

March 27, 2006 - Peter Mancuso, "Phat Hormones: The emerging Role of the Adipokines in Health Care"  

March 28, 2005 - Tony England, "The Opportunity Cost of the New NASA"

March 22, 2004 - Howard Van Till, "Finders and Keepers: Can Religion Keep What Science Finds?"

March 24, 2003 - Jacqueline Krim, "Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems: These Squeaky Wheels Will Get No Grease"

March 18, 2002 - Milford Wolpoff, "Paleo-Anthropology"

Fall 2001- external speaker, topic: genetic engineering of food


Faculty Resources

Graduate School, 200 Boone Hall Phone: 734.487.0042,