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Natasha Snider, PhD, is a UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center member with research interests in chronic liver diseases and liver cancer, protein biochemistry, pharmacology and cell biology.

Associate Professor, Cell Biology & Physiology
UNC-Chapel Hill
Cancer Cell Biology

Area of Interest

My research background spans protein biochemistry, pharmacology, cell biology and gastrointestinal/liver physiology. Currently I have two major areas of research: (i) mechanisms of chronic liver diseases and liver cancer and (ii) the function and disease associations of the intermediate filament (IF) cytoskeleton. My postdoctoral work contributed basic understanding of post-translational modifications of IF proteins. I was the first to demonstrate sumoylation on any mammalian cytoplasmic IF protein, and to link this process to liver disease pathogenesis. I also showed that IF proteins are targets for lysine acetylation and that this modification functions as a metabolic sensor to link glucose availability to keratin reorganization in the cell. I also developed the tools and methods to study these specific modifications. My current research focuses on the discovery of pharmacological probes to target IF proteins. Such tools will have broad applicability in basic cell biology research and as potential clinical agents for over 80 human diseases associated with IF gene mutations. In addition to this work, for the past 15 years I have studied various aspects of liver function, including toxicity mechanisms, pharmacology and hepatic drug metabolism, and liver disease pathogenesis. I am the primary PI of an active NIDDK R01 grant (2017-2022) to study the role of the protein CD73 in stress responses of normal hepatocytes and in liver injury related to alcoholic and non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (ASH and NASH, respectively). ASH and NASH are highly prevalent, lack therapies, and are the leading non-viral causes of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We have discovered a novel CD73 splice variant that is primarily expressed in human cirrhosis and HCC, as well as an HCC tumor-specific glycoform of CD73 that is a candidate biomarker for HCC. Our major goal is to understand the mechanisms behind these tumor-specific changes in HCC and to develop probes and assays for the specific detection of the CD73 glycoform expressed in HCC tumors. We are pursuing this work in collaboration with Dr. HJ Kim (Surgery) and Kevin Greene (Pathology).

Awards and Honors

  • 1997-1998 USA High School Exchange Scholarship by Foundation Open Society Institute, Macedonia\
  • 1998-2002 Gordon W. and Loyse B. Hueschen Science Scholarship, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • 2001 ASPET Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI
  • 2006-2008 Pharmacological Sciences Training Grant, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • 2007 Best Poster Award, 9th Annual Winter Eicosanoid Conference, Baltimore, MD
  • 2008 Organizer, 28th Annual Graduate Student Symposium in the Pharmacological Sciences and Biorelated Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • 2009 Best Poster Award, ASPET Drug Metabolism Division, Experimental Biology Meeting, New Orleans, LA
  • 2009-2011 Postdoctoral Translational Scholars Program Award, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • 2010 Honorary Councilor, Executive Committee of the ASPET Division for Drug Metabolism
  • 2011 President, Physiology postdoctoral club, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
  • 2012 Research Recognition Award – APS Gastrointestinal & Liver Physiology Section

Find publications on PubMed

Headshot of Natasha Snider