Radiology Personnel

David Marcinek, Ph.D.




David Marcinek received his Ph.D. from Stanford University studying muscle metabolism in endothermic and ectothermic fish species. He came to the UW to work with Kevin Conley as a postdoctoral fellow where they developed NMR and optical spectroscopy tools to study the effects of age on skeletal muscle energetics. Since becoming faculty in the Department of Radiology he has been focused on the interaction between mitochondrial oxidative stress and energy metabolism in health and disease.

Research Interests

Mitochondria play a key role in integrating cellular energetics and the control of cell survival. As a result they are a critical element in aging and many degenerative diseases. We believe that an integrated study of mitochondrial energetics in the living organism is required for a mechanistic understanding of the role mitochondria play in degenerative disease. To that end, we have developed novel methods to directly measure mitochondrial function in vivo. Optical and magnetic resonance spectroscopies provide independent measures of oxygen and ATP fluxes in the intact animal. By independently measuring these fluxes we determine several parameters of mitochondrial energetics in skeletal muscle, including the coupling of ATP production to oxygen consumption. We have found that mitochondria in mouse skeletal muscle become less efficient with age, which results in a reduction in the ATP produced per oxygen consumed. This reduced efficiency can lead to an energetic stress on the cell and may impact cell survival. We combine these novel in vivo tools with detailed biochemical analyses of isolated mitochondria and permeabilized muscle fibers. By combining these approaches we are able to integrate the physiological relevance of our in vivo approach with the mechanistic detail available from ex vivo assays.

The focus of our current research is:

1) identifying the role of in vivo mitochondrial dysfunction and loss of energy homeostasis in pathophysiology of aging and disease,

2) the role of mitochondrial toxicity in the pathology associated with multiple xenobiotic compounds such as chemotherapeutic agents, environmental toxins and other drugs.


1989-1993 B.A. – Biology, Kalamazoo College, Kalamazoo, MI

1993-2000 Ph.D. – Physiology, Stanford University, Stanford, CA

2000-2005 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

Recent Publications (via Semantic Scholar)

Effect of Urolithin A Supplementation on Muscle Endurance and Mitochondrial Health in Older Adults
Sophia Z. Liu, D. D'Amico, E. Shankland, et al. - Published 2022 - JAMA NETWORK OPEN

Mitochondrial interactome remodeling in aging mouse skeletal muscle associated with functional decline
A. Bakhtina, Gavin Pharaoh, A. Keller, et al. - Published 2022 - BIORXIV

Multi-tissue landscape of somatic mtDNA mutations indicates tissue specific accumulation and removal in aging
M. Sanchez-Contreras, M. Sweetwyne, Kristine A. Tsantilas, et al. - Published 2022 - BIORXIV

Metabolic function in aging retina and retinal pigment epithelium remains robust despite vision loss
Kristine A. Tsantilas, W. Cleghorn, Celia M. Bisbach, et al. - Published 2021

In vivo mitochondrial ATP production is improved in older adult skeletal muscle after a single dose of elamipretide in a randomized trial
B. Roshanravan, Sophia Z Liu, Amir S Ali, et al. - Published 2021 - PLOS ONE

High intensity muscle stimulation activates a systemic Nrf2-mediated redox stress response.
Ethan L. Ostrom, A. P. Valencia, D. Marcinek, et al. - Published 2021 - FREE RADICAL BIOLOGY & MEDICINE

Elamipretide (SS-31) Treatment Attenuates Age-Associated Post-Translational Modifications of Heart Proteins
Jeremy A. Whitson, Miguel Martin-Perez, Tong Zhang, et al. - Published 2021

Ice seals as sentinels for algal toxin presence in the Pacific Arctic and subarctic marine ecosystems
Alicia M Hendrix, K. Lefebvre, L. Quakenbush, et al. - Published 2021

A mutational gradient drives somatic mutation accumulation in mitochondrial DNA and influences germline polymorphisms and genome composition
M. Sanchez-Contreras, M. Sweetwyne, Brendan F Kohrn, et al. - Published 2021

Are fat and sugar just as detrimental in old age?
A. P. Valencia, Nitin Nagaraj, Deena H Osman, et al. - Published 2021 - GEROSCIENCE