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Navdeep Chandel: Faculty Experts

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Navdeep Chandel

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

David W. Cugell Professor of Medicine & Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics


Areas of Focus

  • Metabolism-relevance to cancer
  • Aging
  • Immunology
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Diabetes


  • Establishing the concept that mitochondrial metabolism is necessary for tumorigenesis in vivo. Previously, the prevailing idea was that increased aerobic glycolysis (i.e. Warburg effect) was the dominant metabolic reprogramming event in cancer cells. This led to our current understanding that both aerobic glycolysis and mitochondrial metabolism are essential for tumor growth.
  • We have elucidated that the widely used anti-diabetic drug metformin has anti-tumor effects through inhibition of mitochondrial complex I within cancer cells. Until this finding, it was believed that metformin primarily exerts its anti-cancer effects by lowering insulin levels, a known mitogen for certain cancer cells. 


Navdeep S. Chandel is the David W. Cugell Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics at Northwestern University. He received his BA in Mathematics and Ph.D. in Cell Physiology at the University of Chicago. For decades, the mitochondria have been primarily viewed as biosynthetic and bioenergetic organelles generating metabolites for the production of macromolecules and ATP, respectively. Dr. Chandel’s work has elucidated that mitochondria have a third distinct role whereby they control cell fate and function through the release of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and metabolites independent of ATP and macromolecule production. Dr. Chandel’s has published over 200 articles and a book entitled “Navigating Metabolism” (Cold Spring Harbor Press). He received NCI outstanding investigator Award in 2016.