Jodi Nunnari and Jonathan Scholey Honored as American Society for Cell Biology Fellows

Jodi Nunnari and Jonathan Scholey

Jonathan Scholey and Jodi Nunnari, faculty members in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, are among the newest American Society for Cell Biology Fellows. Courtesy photo

by Lily O'Connor Coates

During its annual meeting on Dec. 2, the American Society for Cell Biology named Distinguished Professor Jodi Nunnari and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Jonathan Scholey as ASBC Fellows.

Both faculty members in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology at the UC Davis College of Biological Sciences, they are recognized for their career contributions to the field of cell biology.

“It is a wonderful honor for Jodi and Jonathan to be named ASCB Fellows,” said Mark Winey, dean of the College of Biological Sciences. “This recognizes their significant contributions to understanding how cells function, and it is a reflection of the strength of the cell biology research community at UC Davis.”

Mitochondria, the powerhouses of the cells

Nunnari is recognized for her research on mitochondria, the organelles that produce energy within cells. Her lab studies the behavior of mitochondria — which have their own DNA, separate from the cell nucleus — inside cells. She explores the mechanisms through which mitochondria divide and fuse together, and how mitochondrial DNA is organized and transmitted.

“I am honored to be elected as an ASCB Fellow — a program that acknowledges individuals who, over their lifetime, have made substantial contributions to cell biology,” said Nunnari. “The society is a vital part of the cell biology community, and I am also honored to continue to serve in the capacity of ASCB president in 2018.”

Nunnari earned a doctoral degree in pharmacology at Vanderbilt University and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the College of Wooster. She was elected a member of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year.

Cellular biology of motor proteins

Scholey is recognized for his work on motor proteins. His research combines the biochemistry and molecular biology of microtubule motors. Microtubules are the thin filaments in cytoplasm used in intracellular transport, and they form the building blocks of cytoskeletons in animal cells.

“I am proud and humbled to have been elected an ASCB Fellow. It honors the science of the excellent postdocs, students and project scientists who researched the cell biology of motors, mitosis and ciliogenesis in my lab,” said Scholey. “I find cells fascinating, and I feel privileged to have spent my working life studying and teaching about cells and their constituent molecules. Being an ASCB fellow means something special to me.”

Scholey earned a doctoral degree in molecular biology from Cambridge University and a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology from London University. At UC Davis, he instructed many courses, such as biochemistry, biophysics and cell and molecular biology. Scholey became a professor emeritus in 2015.

The ASCB was founded in 1960 as an international forum for cell biologists. Since then, it has grown to 9,000 members and is dedicated to advancing discoveries, improving education worldwide and increasing diversity in the sciences.