Gino Cortopassi

Gino Cortopassi

Position Title

Department of Molecular Biosciences, School of Veterinary Medicine

3007 VM3B, located at 1089 Veterinary Medicine Way, Davis, CA, 95616

Research Interests

Mitochondrial disease and therapy

We study inherited mitochondrial disease pathomechanisms and potential therapeutics. Two main foci are mitochondrial neurodegenerative diseases, Friedreich's ataxia, and Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy. In both diseases there is an inherited mitochondrial defect that causes neurodegeneration. We study the pathophysiological mechanism using cell and animal models of the disease, RNAseq, microarray, QRTPCR, and biochemical assays. In the last 4 years we used mitodisease  cell models to screen for drugs with therapeutic potential. We have also determined anti-aging mechanisms of animals with decreased Shc proteins, and identified molecules that cause beneficial Shc inhibition. 

Grad Group Affiliations

  • Biochemistry, Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology
  • Integrative Genetics and Genomics
  • Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology
  • Neuroscience
  • Pharmacology and Toxicology (PTX)

Specialties / Focus

  • Mitochondrial Metabolism/Pharmacology
  • Genomics, Proteomics and Metabolomics
  • Human Genetics and Genomics
  • Metabolic Physiology
  • Molecular Medicine


  • VMD 405 GI/Metabolism, Spring
  • Genetics 201A, Mitochondrial Genetics
  • PTX 202, Pharmacology & Toxicology


  • 3rd floor VM3B building, located at 1089 Veterinary Medicine Drive, Davis, CA.
    • Cortopassi lab: see website to know what we look like

Honors and Awards

  • Zumberge Faculty Award 1992, USC
  • Pfizer Research Award, 2010
  • AAAS Fellow, 2015

    Professional Societies

    • Society for Neuroscience


    • 1981 BA Biology Stanford University
    • 1988 PhD Biochemistry University of California, Berkeley
    • 1992 Postdoctoral Research - Molecular Biology University of Southern California


    see our website for all pubs.