Lily Spatz

Program: Molecular Cell Biology

Current advisor: Aaron DiAntonio, MD, PhD

Undergraduate university: University of Notre Dame, 2018

Enrollment year: 2018

Research summary
Investigating the role of neuronal dysfunction in the development of diabetes

Blood glucose is maintained at a steady state by the counterregulatory actions of energy sensing, energy expending, and energy storing tissues. Each tissue involved in the control of glucose flux receives signals from the autonomic nervous system. Innervation of the pancreatic islets, liver hepatocytes, skeletal muscle fibers, and adipocytes controls insulin secretion, insulin sensitivity, lipolysis, and hepatic glucose production. Reorganization of these fibers and localized neuropathy in these tissues is observed in stress and diabetes. Thus, the nervous system plays a pivotal role in controlling metabolic health. We seek to investigate the role of neurodegeneration in the development of diabetes.

Graduate publications
Radyk MD, Spatz LB, Peña BL, Brown JW, Burclaff J, Cho CJ, Kefalov Y, Shih CC, Fitzpatrick JA, Mills JC. 2021 ATF3 induces RAB7 to govern autodegradation in paligenosis, a conserved cell plasticity program. EMBO Rep, ():e51806. PMCID:

Spatz LB, Mills JC. 2019 DeMISTifying Paneth Cell Maturation. Cell Mol Gastroenterol Hepatol, ():pii: S2352-345X(19)30111-0. PMCID: