Samantha C. Lewis, PhD


Hi there! I'm a postdoc at UC Davis studying mitochondrial genome inheritance.







I am currently a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Distinguished Professor Jodi Nunnari at the University of California, Davis, where I use basic and systems cell biology approaches to interrogate the mechanisms of mitochondrial genome synthesis, segregation and inheritance in mammalian cells. In January 2020 I will join the Department of Molecular and Cell Biology at UC Berkeley, as an Assistant Professor of Cell and Developmental Biology.

Education and Training

Postdoctoral Fellow, UC Davis
Advisor: Jodi Nunnari, Dept. of Molecular and Cellular Biology

Ph.D. Genetics, Genomics and Bioinformatics, UC Riverside
Advisor: Bradley Hyman, Dept. of Biology

Visiting Researcher, University of Tampere (Finland)
Advisor: Howard Jacobs, Institute for Biotechnology
Fall 2011-Fall 2012

B.S. Zoology, Oregon State University
Advisor: Dee R. Denver, Dept. of Integrative Biology


Fellowships, Honors, and Awards

  • Kelsey Wright Award for Excellence, Mitochondrial Medicine Society, 2019

  • NIH K99/R00 Pathway to Independence Award, 2018-23

  • Best Poster Award, Cell Symposia: Multifaceted Mitochondria, 2018

  • Burroughs Wellcome Postdoctoral Enrichment Award, 2016-19

  • NIH F32 NRSA Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015-18

  • NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, 2010-13

  • UC Riverside Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Award, 2013

  • Dissertation Research Award, Society of Nematologists, 2013

  • Carl Storm URM Fellowship, Gordon Conferences, 2012

  • Best Poster Award, Society of Nematologists Meeting, 2011

  • N.A. Cobb Nematology Foundation Research Award, 2011

  • Cota-Robles Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship, 2008-11

  • New England Biolabs/IIGB Innovation Seed Grant, 2010

  • Dr. JoAnne Trow Woman of Distinction Award, 2008

A graphical abstract of Lewis, et al. 2016. Graphic design by  @GBPlucinska

A graphical abstract of Lewis, et al. 2016. Graphic design by @GBPlucinska


Coenzyme Q biosynthetic proteins assemble in a substrate-dependent manner into domains at ER-mitochondria contacts. Subramanian K, Jochem A, Le Vasseur M, Lewis SC, Paulson BR, Reddy TR, Russell JD, Coon JJ, Pagliarini DJ, and JM Nunnari. Journal of Cell Biology, Jan 2019, jcb.201808044.

Discovery and characterization of selective small molecule inhibitors of the mammalian mitochondrial division dynamin, DRP1.
Mallat A, Uchiyama LF, Lewis SC, Fredenburg RA, Terada Y, Ji N, Nunnari J, Tseng CC. (2018) Biochem Biophys Res Commun. May 15;499(3):556-562.

ER-mitochondria contacts couple mtDNA synthesis with mitochondrial division in human cells. 
Lewis SC, Uchiyama LF and J Nunnari. (2016) Science, 353(6296):aaf5549. doi: 10.1126/science.aaf5549. 

A rolling-circle replication mechanism produces multimeric lariats of mitochondrial DNA in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Lewis SC, Joers P, Willcox S, Griffith JD, Jacobs HT, Hyman BC. (2015) PLoS Genetics, 11(2): e1004985.

Mitochondrial transcription terminator family members mTTF and mTerf5 have opposing roles in coordination of mtDNA synthesis.
Joers P, Lewis SC, Fukuoh A, Parhiala M, Ellila S, Holt IJ, Jacobs HT. (2013) PLoS Genetics 9(9): e1003800.

Systematic affinity of the sea urchin parasite, Echinomermella matsi.
Poinar G, Lewis SC, Hagen N, Hyman BC. (2011) Nematology 13:747-753.

Rampant gene rearrangement and haplotype hypervariation among nematode mitochondrial genomes.
Hyman BC, Lewis SC, Tang S, Wu Z. (2010) Genetica 139(5): 611-5.

A genome-wide view of Caenorhabditis elegans base-substitution mutation processes.
Denver DR, Dolan P, Wilhelm LJ, Sung W, Lucas-Lledó JI, Howe DK, Lewis SC, Okamoto K, Thomas WK, Lynch M, Baer CF. (2009) PNAS 106 (38):16310-4.

Molecular evolution in Panagrolaimus nematodes: origins of parthenogenesis, hermaphroditism and the Antarctic species P. davidi.
Lewis SC, Dyal LA, Hilburn CF, Weitz S, Liau WS, Lamunyon CW, Denver DR. (2009) BMC Evolutionary Biology 9(1):15.