Graduate Program

Aleksandrs Nasonovs, BS
Elucidating mitochondrial biogenesis and nucleoid centered function at high resolution.
  • Biography

Elucidating mitochondrial biogenesis and nucleoid centered function at high resolution

In 2012 I earned a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from CUNY Hunter College. There, I got my first start in research by working in a biophysics lab, parsing naturally noisy biological systems through quantitative methods like qPCR. Subsequently, summer employment in the lab of George Church provided the experience of intimate hands-on exposure to the structure and rigor of cutting-edge research operations while also expanding my mindset toward working with industrial, high-throughput, applications.

In 2013 I joined Stony Brook working as a technician in the virology lab of Dr. Erich Mackow. There I worked to determine what makes the Andes strain of Hantavirus so lethal to humans.

Most recently, this Ph.D. program has brought me into a collective family enthusiastic about understanding, teaching, and influencing the world through the tools of pharmacology. 

My current work centers on parsing differences in mitochondrial populations of varying “health” by their function and morphology. Including via super-resolution microscopy methods focused on resolving activities of individual mitochondrial genomes. Mitochondria are dynamic organelles that are an incredible nexus of our cellular economy; they are sites of essential energy production but, also so much more.

Basic mitochondrial research like mine has direct implication applicable in fields such as those looking at; mitochondrial metabolic disorders, the problems of aging, cancer, hallmarks of mitochondrial toxicity, (dys)regulation of reactive oxygen species, and likely the emerging role of innate immune pathways triggered by released mitochondrial content in diseases hallmarked by states of chronic sterile inflammation.

Ultimately, I believed that my current research on a possible mitochondrial indicator of cell stress (manuscript in preparation), and its associated nucleoid centered functions, will one day contribute to diagnosing and controlling the chronic diseases associated with aging.

Personally, I’m excited about the pharmacological revival and interest in a generally neglected organelle and am diligently working toward proving myself as a productive contributor to this community.  


Some of the things I enjoy, outside of lab-work, include:

-Pharmacological consulting (eg. reviewing your dad’s meds and explaining the kinetics and pharmacology involved, in layman terms. Or… extrapolating on the known concerns, after reviewing all the publications available, about the consequences of whatever “Chemical-X” you are choosing to put in your body). 
-Ultra-light hiking (I rather carry less and suffer more).
-Bicycling (maintaining my 1982 Panasonic salvage, and with determination using it to traverse appreciable distances).
-Home-brewing (my take on real “translational” yeast “research”, and bio-incubator maintenance).
-Fixing lab-equipment/cars/electronics (in a world where things are disposable we become disposable). Things that are loved should last forever. Its what really drives me to figure out how and why we, ourselves, break down as we age. 

On a personal note: a strong personal interest in mitochondria’s intertwined role in steroid biology exists, should potential labs express interest in collaboration or getting some nice imaging done, feel free to reach out. 

Comfortable with microscopy of fixed and live specimens.

Experienced with Nikon’s SIM and STORM, Leica’s SP5 and SP8 laser scanning as well as the Zeiss’ LSM 510. Have also previously conducted imaging using spinning-disc (Nikon) and 2-photon (Zeiss) setups.  

Recent Publications:

Cimica V, Dalrymple NA, Roth E, Nasonov A, Mackow ER. An innate immunity-regulating virulence determinant is uniquely encoded by the Andes virus nucleocapsid protein. MBio. 2014;5(1)