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Zachary Schug, Ph.D.

The Wistar Institute Appoints Zachary Schug, Ph.D., as Assistant Professor, Molecular & Cellular Oncogenesis Program

PHILADELPHIA—(April 5, 2016)—The Wistar Institute, an international biomedical research leader in cancer, immunology and infectious diseases, announces the appointment of Zachary Schug, Ph.D., as assistant professor in Wistar’s Molecular and Cellular Oncogenesis Program.

Cancer cells are voracious and in order to grow they need an enormous amount of energy, in the form of glucose or sugar. They are also resilient opportunists that adapt and survive in the most inhospitable environments. Unlike normal healthy cells, they are not dependent on an oxygen-rich environment. Cancer metabolism research is a rapidly emerging field focused on how the breakdown of nutrients (sugars, proteins and fats) drives certain types of cancer by providing the necessary building blocks for tumor growth. Cancer metabolism first gained scientific attention in the 1920s when Otto Warburg, Ph.D., presented a cancer theory wherein cancer cells become addicted to sugar fermentation regardless of the oxygen availability.

Schug’s research identifies alterations in the breakdown products of nutrients, called metabolites, to understand how these influence the major metabolic cancer cell pathways. Applying biochemical and biological cell analysis using advanced mass spectrometry techniques, he studies cancer cells’ fundamentally different energy metabolism transformations. Schug’s expertise adds to the investigational research toolkit of Wistar scientists’ growing understanding of the processes that drive cancers.

“Cancer metabolism is a hot issue in science and Zachary is an expert in the field,” said Dario Altieri, M.D., President and CEO of The Wistar Institute, Director of The Wistar Institute Cancer Center, and the Robert and Penny Fox Distinguished Professor. “His dynamic work understanding the metabolic needs of cancers not only complements Wistar research, but could one day lead to a new class of therapies. This cutting-edge field reemerged in 2005, and Zachary’s lab fills an important niche at The Wistar Institute.”

“I’m excited to be back in Philadelphia for a fantastic opportunity at Wistar exploring new scientific frontiers in cancer metabolism,” said Schug. “The spirit of the Institute promotes teamwork and the chance to collaborate with fellow scientists by applying my skill set to projects exploring how cancer reprograms the metabolism in immune, melanoma and many other types of cancer.”

Schug joins Wistar from The Beatson Institute, a Cancer Research UK core-funded institute, in the lab of Eyal Gottlieb, Ph.D., where he started as a postdoctoral fellow and became an associate scientist in the Metabolism Research Unit. He graduated with a B.S. in biology from Saint Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, and a Ph.D. in molecular biology from Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, where he was a graduate fellow in the Molecular Cell Biology Program at Thomas Jefferson University in the lab of Suresh Joseph, Ph.D.


The Wistar Institute is an international leader in biomedical research with special expertise in cancer research and vaccine development. Founded in 1892 as the first independent nonprofit biomedical research institute in the country, Wistar has held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute since 1972. The Institute works actively to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible.

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