Dr. Cecilia Giulivi, MS Biochemistry, PHD Biochemistry

Cecilia Giulivi

Position Title
Professor, Director of the Redox Biology Lab

Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine
MIND Institute

3009 VetMed3B

Profile Introduction

Dr. Giulivi’s expertise is in the area of mitochondria, bioenergetics and free radical biochemistry. This is reflected in >120 publications with more than 7,000 citations in peer-reviewed journals in the chemistry-biochemistry field of mitochondria and free radicals. She has worked on mitochondrial biochemistry since her undergraduate years, and more recently, her focus is on the impact of intermediary metabolism in neurobiology and dietary deficiencies (thiamine), neurodegeneration and neurodevelopmental and neurodegenerative disorders (autism, Huntington’s, fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome). The effect of gene x environment interaction in autism was explored by using as a model a flame retardant (BDE-49), in which we reported that this additive effect causes a direct disruption of the mitochondrial function at low nM concentrations, further compounded by a genetic background exhibiting a subclinical mitochondrial dysfunction. The study of metabolism in these models is accomplished through the use of a variety of biological models (isolated mitochondria, primary cell culture, established cell cultures, animal models including conditional knock-in and transgenic, human patients’ samples) and using state-of-the art technology (metabolomics, bioinformatics, mitochondrial bioenergetics). Dr. Giulivi has trained a variety of students during the last 20 years, spanning from high-school students (summer internships), undergraduates and graduates to postdoctoral fellows.

Research Interests

Understanding the mitochondrial mechanisms underlying pathophysiology

We explore the mechanisms underlying mitochondrial biology in different pathophysiological cases including autism, schizophrenia, Huntington's and fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome.

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Forensic Science
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics

Specialties / Focus

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular Responses to Toxins and Stress
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Human Genetics and Genomics
  • Molecular Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Physiology
  • Neurobiology
  • Organelle and Membrane Biology


  • VetMed VM401 Basic Foundations, Fall
  • VetMed VM405 GI and Metabolism
  • VetMed VM415 Clinical Foundations
  • PMI 201 Integrative Pathobiology Core I, Winter


  • Giulivi's laboratory
    • Eleonora Napoli, Ilaria Marsilio, Nikita Shankar, Sarah Rose, and Thu Q. Nguyen

Honors and Awards

  • 2010 Autism Science Top 10 Achievement for 2010, for groundbreaking work on identifying mitochondrial dysfunction in autistic children.
  • 2011 NIEHS selected as one of the papers of the year (12/2011; DOI: 10.1001/jama.2010.1706).
  • 2012 NIEHS paper of the month (9/2012; PMID: 3416855).

    Professional Societies

    • American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
    • Society for Free Radical Research


    • 1989 PhD Biochemistry University of Buenos Aires
    • 1985 Diploma Biochemistry University of Buenos Aires

    Publications (selected from 2015 until present)

    1 Hung, C. et al. Adipose depot-specific effects of ileal interposition surgery in UCD-T2D rats: unexpected implications for obesity and diabetes. The Biochemical journal 475, 649-662, doi:10.1042/BCJ20170899 (2018).

    2 Wang, J. Y. et al. Open-Label Allopregnanolone Treatment of Men with Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome. Neurotherapeutics 14, 1073-1083, doi:10.1007/s13311-017-0555-6 (2017).

    3 Napoli, E. et al. Zdhhc13-dependent Drp1 S-palmitoylation impacts brain bioenergetics, anxiety, coordination and motor skills. Sci Rep 7, 12796, doi:10.1038/s41598-017-12889-0 (2017).

    4 Napoli, E., Liu, S., Marsilio, I., Zarbalis, K. & Giulivi, C. Lipid-based DNA/siRNA transfection agents disrupt neuronal bioenergetics and mitophagy. The Biochemical journal 474, 3887-3902, doi:10.1042/BCJ20170632 (2017).

    5 Caputi, V. et al. Toll-Like Receptor 4 Modulates Small Intestine Neuromuscular Function through Nitrergic and Purinergic Pathways. Front Pharmacol 8, 350, doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00350 (2017).

    6 Byndloss, M. X. et al. Microbiota-activated PPAR-gamma signaling inhibits dysbiotic Enterobacteriaceae expansion. Science (New York, N.Y 357, 570-575, doi:10.1126/science.aam9949 (2017).

    7 Wong, S., Rose, S. & Giulivi, C. in Biochemistry of oxidative stress: Physiopathology and clinical aspects   (ed R. j Gelpi, Poderoso, JJ, and Boveris, A.) Ch. 21, 327-343 (Springer Berlin Heidelberg, 2016).

    8 Wong, S. et al. Role of p53, Mitochondrial DNA Deletions, and Paternal Age in Autism: A Case-Control Study. Pediatrics 137, doi:10.1542/peds.2015-1888 (2016).

    9 Wong, S. & Giulivi, C. Autism, Mitochondria and Polybrominated Diphenyl Ether Exposure. CNS Neurol Disord Drug Targets 15, 614-623, doi:10.2174/1871527315666160413122624 (2016).

    10 Song, G. et al. Altered redox mitochondrial biology in the neurodegenerative disorder fragile X-tremor/ataxia syndrome: use of antioxidants in precision medicine. Mol Med 22, doi:10.2119/molmed.2016.00122 (2016).

    11 Pietri, J. E. et al. Two insulin-like peptides differentially regulate malaria parasite infection in the mosquito through effects on intermediary metabolism. The Biochemical journal 473, 3487-3503, doi:10.1042/BCJ20160271 (2016).

    12 Napoli, E., Song, G., Wong, S., Hagerman, R. & Giulivi, C. Altered Bioenergetics in Primary Dermal Fibroblasts from Adult Carriers of the FMR1 Premutation Before the Onset of the Neurodegenerative Disease Fragile X-Associated Tremor/Ataxia Syndrome. Cerebellum 15, 552-564, doi:10.1007/s12311-016-0779-8 (2016).

    13 Napoli, E. et al. Warburg effect linked to cognitive-executive deficits in FMR1 premutation. FASEB J 30, 3334-3351, doi:10.1096/fj.201600315R (2016).

    14 Napoli, E. et al. Premutation in the Fragile X Mental Retardation 1 (FMR1) Gene Affects Maternal Zn-milk and Perinatal Brain Bioenergetics and Scaffolding. Front Neurosci 10, 159, doi:10.3389/fnins.2016.00159 (2016).

    15 Giulivi, C., Napoli, E., Tassone, F., Halmai, J. & Hagerman, R. Plasma metabolic profile delineates roles for neurodegeneration, pro-inflammatory damage and mitochondrial dysfunction in the FMR1 premutation. The Biochemical journal 473, 3871-3888, doi:10.1042/BCJ20160585 (2016).

    16 Giulivi, C., Napoli, E., Tassone, F., Halmai, J. & Hagerman, R. Plasma Biomarkers for Monitoring Brain Pathophysiology in FMR1 Premutation Carriers. Front Mol Neurosci 9, 71, doi:10.3389/fnmol.2016.00071 (2016).

    17 Conca Dioguardi, C. et al. Granulosa cell and oocyte mitochondrial abnormalities in a mouse model of fragile X primary ovarian insufficiency. Mol Hum Reprod 22, 384-396, doi:10.1093/molehr/gaw023 (2016).

    18 Wang, B. et al. Anopheles stephensi p38 MAPK signaling regulates innate immunity and bioenergetics during Plasmodium falciparum infection. Parasit Vectors 8, 424, doi:10.1186/s13071-015-1016-x (2015).

    19 Vernau, K. et al. Thiamine Deficiency-Mediated Brain Mitochondrial Pathology in Alaskan Huskies with Mutation in SLC19A3.1. Brain pathology 25, 441-453, doi:10.1111/bpa.12188 (2015).

    20 Perez, C. J. et al. Increased Susceptibility to Skin Carcinogenesis Associated with a Spontaneous Mouse Mutation in the Palmitoyl Transferase Zdhhc13 Gene. J Invest Dermatol 135, 3133-3143, doi:10.1038/jid.2015.314 (2015).

    21 Napoli, E. et al. Mitochondrial Citrate Transporter-dependent Metabolic Signature in the 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome. The Journal of biological chemistry 290, 23240-23253, doi:10.1074/jbc.M115.672360 (2015).

    22 Luckhart, S., Pakpour, N. & Giulivi, C. Host-pathogen interactions in malaria: cross-kingdom signaling and mitochondrial regulation. Curr Opin Immunol 36, 73-79, doi:10.1016/j.coi.2015.07.002 (2015).

    23 Giulivi, C. & Ramsey, J. On fuel choice and water balance during migratory bird flights. Int Biol Rev 2015 (2015).

    24 Fujisawa, Y. et al. Impact of a novel homozygous mutation in nicotinamide nucleotide transhydrogenase on mitochondrial DNA integrity in a case of familial glucocorticoid deficiency. BBA Clin 3, 70-78, doi:10.1016/j.bbacli.2014.12.003 (2015).