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Ryo 2.JPG

NIH F32 Research Fellow

Glenn Foundation Research Fellow

NIH K99 Award Recipient


My experience is considerably different from the typical researcher – I come from a background in restaurant and retail management, having worked as an assistant store manager, general store manager, and district manager in well-known companies including Burger King and Starbucks, as well as independent restaurants like Menchanko-Tei for the first 10+ years of my professional life. Having come from a very poor family, it was imperative that I work numerous jobs to fund my education, and these seemingly disconnected employments have given me the complex ability to multi-task and maximize my time, which have been instrumental in my scientific career. Most importantly, it gave me humility and compassion.


While juggling multiple responsibilities in my numerous jobs, I completed my BA and MA degree in Biotechnology at Hunter College, working with Dr. Paul Feinstein in characterization of odorant receptors in mouse olfactory neurons. Subsequently, I completed my PhD at Columbia University with Dr. Liza Pon working on identification of novel actin-mitochondrial interactions in regulation of cellular health and lifespan in the yeast model organism, S. cerevisiae. Throughout my research career, I also invested my time in developing my pedagogy, working as a teaching assistant and adjunct professor at several high schools, Kaplan, Hunter College, Columbia University, and College of Mount Saint Vincent.


As a postdoc in the Dillin lab, my research is focused on understanding how organisms respond to stress and how their responses serve to protect organismal health and healthy aging. My research focuses on two major fields: (I) regulation of actin, the “skeleton” of the cell and (II) quality control machineries of the endoplasmic reticulum, the “factory” of the cell. Specifically, I am interested in how the stress responses dedicated to protecting these distinct organelles deteriorate during the aging process, and the potential to hijack the function of these stress responses to promote lifespan.


During my postdoc, I am also heavily involved in diversity outreach programs. I directly participate and promote programs dedicated to increasing all types of diversity (women, LGBTQ, underrepresented minorities, socioeconomic minorities, those combating medical ailments, etc.) in STEM. These include the NIH B2B program and CHORI summer research programs, as well as my own personal movements to accomplish these goals. I am also an avid fitness enthusiast and am a certified yoga, Pilates, and Barre instructor (my fitness classes can be found at the RSF and WorkFit programs at UCB).


Finally, I am currently on the faculty job market and my overall goal in my independent research lab is to better understand cross communication between organelles, starting with actin-ER cross-talk. I propose to investigate the still heavily unexplored field of cytoskeletal stress biology, and expand these studies to interrogate the impact of actin health on ER homeostasis and vice versa.


Higuchi R, Vevea JD, Swayne TC, Chojnowski R, Hill V, Boldogh IR, and Pon LA (2013). Actin dynamics affects mitochondrial quality control and aging in budding yeast. Curr. Biol. 23, 2417-2422. PMCID: PMC3932488. This paper was highlighted in a “Rapid Dispatch” in Curr. Biol. 23:R107-112. It was also selected as an F1000Prime paper by the Faculty of 1000.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Pernice WM, Vevea JD, Alessi Wolken DM, Boldogh IR, and Pon LA (2014). Role of asymmetric cell division in lifespan control in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. FEMS Yeast. 14 (8), 1133-1146. PMCID: PMC4270926.


Srivastava P, Alessi Wolken DM, Garcia-Rodriguez LJ, Higuchi-Sanabria R, Pon LA (2015). Organelle inheritance in yeast and other fungi. The Mycota.

Higuchi-Sanabria R, Charalel JK, Viana M, Garcia EJ, Koenigsberg A, Swayne  TC,  Vevea JD, Boldogh I, Rafelski S, Pon LA (2016). Mitochondrial anchorage and fusion contribute to mitochondrial inheritance and quality control in the budding yeast, Saccharomyces cerevisiae. MBoC. PMCID: PMC4803304.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Vevea JD, Charalel JC, Sapar ML, Pon LA. The transcriptional repressor Sum1p counteracts Sir2p in regulation of the actin cytoskeleton, mitochondrial quality control, and replicative lifespan in Saccharomyces Cerevisiae (2016). Microbial Cell. PMCID: PMC5349106.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Swayne TC, Pon LA. Live-cell imaging of mitochondria and the actin cytoskeleton in budding yeast (2016). Methods Mol Biol. PMID: 26498779.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Swayne TC, Boldogh IR, Pon LA (2016). Imaging of the actin cytoskeleton and mitochondria in fixed budding yeast cells. Methods Mol Biol. PMID: 26498779.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Garcia EJ, Munteanu EL, Tomoiaga D, Feinstein P, Pon LA (2016). Characterization of fluorescent proteins for three- and four-color live-cell imaging in S. cerevisiae. PLoS One. PMCID: PMC4699809.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Frankino PA, Paul JW III, Tronnes SU, Dillin A (2018). A futile battle? Cellular quality control throughout the stress of aging. Dev. Cell. PMCID: PMC5896312.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Paul JW III, Durieux J, Benitez C, Frankino PA, Tronnes SU, Garcia G, Daniele JR Monshietehadi S, Dillin A (2018). Spatial regulation of the actin cytoskeleton by HSF-1 during aging. Mol. Biol. Cell. PMCID: PMC6254583.


Higuchi-Sanabria R, Swayne TC, Boldogh IR, Pon LA (2016). Imaging of the actin cytoskeleton and mitochondria in fixed budding yeast cells. Methods Mol Biol. PMID: 26498779.


Daniele JR*, Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Durieux J, Monshietehadi S, Ramachandran V, Tronnes SU, Kelet N, Sanchez M, Metcalf MG, Paul JW III, Garcia G, Frankino PA, Benitez C, Zeng M, Esping DJ, Dillin A (2019). UPRER promotes lipophagy independent of chaperones to extend lifespan. Sci. Adv. PMID: 31911951 *equal contributions


Schinzel R*, Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Shalem O*, Moehle EA, Webster BM, Joe L, Bar-Ziv R, Frankino PA, Durieux J, Pender C, Kelet N, Santhosh-Kumar S, Savalia N, Chi H, Simic M, Dillin A (2019). The hyaluronidase, TMEM2, promotes ER homeostasis and longevity independent of the UPRER in metazoans. Cell. PMID: 31761535. *equal contributions


Anderson EC, Frankino PA, Higuchi-Sanabria R, Qiming Y, Bian Q, Podshivolova K, Shin A, Kenyon C, Dillin A, Meyer BJ (2019). X chromosome domain architecture regulates lifespan, but not dosage compensation. Dev. Cell. PMID: 31495695.


Garcia EJ, de Jonge J, Stivison EA, Sing CN, Higuchi-Sanabria R, Boldogh IR, Pon LA (2019). Reciprocal interactions between mtDNA and lifespan control in budding yeast. MBoC. PMID: 31599702.


Measurements of physiological stress responses in C. elegans. Bar-Ziv R*, Frakes AE*, Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Bolas T, Frankino PA, Gildea HK, Metcalf MG, Dillin A (2020). J Vis. Exp. PMID: 32510480. * equal contributions


Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Shen K*, Kelet N, Frankino PA, Durieux J, Bar-Ziv R, Sing CN, Garcia EJ, Homentcovschi S, Sanchez M, Wu R, Tronnes SU, Joe L, Webster B, Ahilon-Jeronimo A, Monshietehadi S, Dallarda S, Pender C, Pon LA, Zoncu R, Dillin A (2020). Lysosomal recycling of amino acids affects ER quality control. Sci. Adv. PMID: 32637599. *equal contributions


Metcalf MG*, Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Garcia G, Tsui CK, Dillin A (2020). Beyond the cell factory: Homeostatic regulation of and by the UPRER. Sci. Adv. PMID: 32832649. *equal contributions


Garcia G, Homentcovschi S, Kelet N, Higuchi-Sanabria R^. Imaging of the actin cytoskeletal integrity during aging in C. elegans. Methods Mol Biol. In press. ^corresponding author


Tharp KM, Higuchi-Sanabria R, Timblin G, Garzon-Coral C, Ford B, Schneider C, Muncie J, Stashko C, Daniele JR, Frankino PA, Manoli SS, Shao H, Festwicki J, Hellerstein M, Nomura DK, Dunn AR, Saijo K, Dillin A, Weaver VM. Cellular tension forces mitohormesis. Revision under review at Science. bioRxiv: doi:


Higuchi-Sanabria R*, Durieux J*, Kelet N, Homentcovschi S, de los Rios Rogers M, Monshietehadi S, Garcia G, Dallarda S, Daniele JR, Ramachandran V, Sahay A, Tronnes SU, Joe L, Dillin A. Divergent nodes of non-autonomous UPRER signaling through serotonergic and dopaminergic neurons. Revision under review at Cell Rep. Sneak Peek:


Vlassakis J, Hansen LL, Higuchi-Sanabria R, Zhou Y, Tsui CK, Dillin A, Huang H, Herr AE. Quantifying cytoskeletal heterogeneity via single-cell protein-complex fractionation. Under review at Nat. Methods. bioRxiv: doi:

Ryo Higuchi-Sanabria, Ph.D.: Faculty
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