Jodi Nunnari is a pioneer in the field of mitochondrial biology. She was the first to describe the organelle as a dynamic network in homeostatic balance and decipher the mechanisms of the machines responsible for mitochondrial division and fusion. Nunnari was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, and studied chemistry at the College of Wooster before attaining a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Vanderbilt University. She was a postdoctoral fellow with Peter Walter at the University of California, San Francisco and joined the faculty at the University of California, Davis in The College of Biological Science in The Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology in 1996. Nunnari was named Editor-in-Chief of The Journal of Cell Biology in 2015, becoming the first woman to serve in this position. She is a member of the The American Society for Cell Biology, and has been elected to serve as the Society’s president in 2018. In 2017, Nunnari was elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Jodi Nunnari's laboratory is interested in the cellular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial behavior. Mitochondria are double membrane-bounded organelles that perform a myriad of diverse and essential functions in cells, dependent on the collective behavior of the organelle. Their work has addressed the physiological functions and mechanisms of mitochondrial division and fusion, which are critical determinants of overall mitochondrial shape and distribution. They have uncovered contact sites that intimately link mitochondria with the ER and described their roles in mitochondrial positioning and dynamics and mtDNA segregation. They have addressed how mitochondrial membranes are sub-compartmentalized to reveal how the complex internal architecture of the organelle is generated. They are using system-based approaches to address how mitochondrial behavior is physiologically regulated within cells and organisms to shed light onto how mitochondrial dysfunction contributes to human disease.

Membership Type


Election Year


Primary Section

Section 21: Biochemistry

Secondary Section

Section 22: Cellular and Developmental Biology