Jason Locasale


Jason Locasale

Assistant Professor
108 Savage Hall
Phone: (607) 255-5114
Email: jwl278@cornell.edu
View Cornell University Contact Info
Curriculum Vitae
Biographical Statement:

Jason W. Locasale, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Nutritional Sciences at Cornell University.  He graduated from Rutgers University, Summa Cum Laude with a dual degree in Chemistry and Physics.  He received his Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Biological Engineering.  He then studied cancer metabolism at Harvard Medical School where he worked as an American Cancer Society postdoctoral fellow and then later as an Instructor on the faculty.  

Dr. Locasale’s research focuses on understanding metabolism in cell growth, cancer pathogenesis and therapeutic intervention.  His efforts have focused on understanding the Warburg Effect – the observation that tumor cells process glucose through fermentation even when oxygen is abundant for respiration.  He has defined the mechanistic principles that lead to the Warburg Effect and is now investigating its downstream consequences on cellular physiology.  He is currently translating this knowledge to develop biomarkers of agents that affect glucose metabolism in cancer.  As a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Locasale made the seminal discovery that a major pathway utilized by glucose-metabolizing cancer cells involved the diversion of glycolytic flux into one-carbon metabolism through de novo serine and glycine metabolism.  Dr. Locasale is currently pursuing the role this pathway in disease pathogenesis and cell transformation and this work has led him to study the interplay between metabolism, signal transduction, and epigenetics.  At the core of this effort lies the utilization of computational modeling and mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. Together this systems biology approach combines these tools with an integration of genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology. 

Dr. Locasale is a recipient of the NIH Pathway to Independence Award, the Ruth Kirchstein National Service Award, the Benjamin Trump Award for Excellence in Cancer Research from the Aspen Cancer Society, and was elected as a Junior Fellow at the Bert and N. Kuggee Vallee Foundation.  Dr. Locasale serves on the advisory board of the American Association of Cancer Research - Chemistry in Cancer section .  He has authored over 35 publications and has co-authored numerous textbooks and patents. 

Teaching and Advising Statement:

 My mentoring philosophy centers around creating an interdiscplinary enviromment where biologists, chemists and engineers integrate  their skill-sets to address pressing biomedical problems.   

With this multidisciplinary bent in mind, I have taught guest lectures throughout the university in biology, chemistry, and biomedical courses.  I also teach a clinical nutrition laboratory course.  

Current Professional Activities:

Graduate Fields

Member - Field of Computational Biology, Cornell University

Member – Tri-Institutional Field of Computational Biology and Medicine, Cornell University, Weill Cornell Medical College, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Member - Field of Genomics, Genetics and Development, Cornell University

Member - Field of Biochemistry, Molecular and Cellular Biology, Cornell University

Member - Field of Biomedical Engineering

Member - Field of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University

Member - Field of Pharmacology, Cornell University Veterinary College


Service at Cornell                                                                                        

Cornell University - Graduate Admissions Committee: Computational Biology Field

Cornell University - Graduate Student Launch Committee: Tri-Institutional Computational Biology and Medicine Field

Cornell University - Graduate Admissions Committee: Computational Biology and Medicine Field

Cornell University - Graduate Admissions Committee: Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology

Teaching Fellow Search Committee, Division of Nutritional Sciences

Cornell University - Faculty coordinator Genomics, Genetics and Development graduate recruitment

Member, Aging Inflammation and Metabolism Seminar Series

Member, Weill Cornell Medical College Cancer Center

Member – Weill Cornell Medical College Cancer Center, Breast Cancer Program

Member – Weill Cornell Medical College Cancer Center, Cancer Metabolism Program

Member – Weill Cornell Medical College Cancer Center, Lung Cancer Program

National and International

Editorial Board 2012-2014 – American Association for Cancer Research, Chemistry in Cancer

Editorial Board – Cancer Metabolomics

Editorial Board – Journal of Metabolomics and Systems Biology

Ad Hoc Review Committee – Cancer Research UK

Ad Hoc Reviewer – Wellcome Trust UK

Ad Hoc Reviewer – Wellcome Trust UK – India Alliance

Ad Hoc Review Committee – Basic and Applied Sciences Broad Agency, Department of Defense

Complex Biological Systems Alliance

American Association of Cancer Research, Full Member

American Society Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Manager – Linkedin “Metabolism and Cancer” discussion group

Member – Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Diabetes Center

Affiliate Member – Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center – Computational Biology Program

Current Research Activities:

Our research focuses on fundamental issues of cell growth and development as they relate to human disease and therapeutic intervention. We direct these efforts toward understanding human cancer as a disease of uncontrolled cell growth and development. This direction has also led to us to study problems in stem cell biology and cell fate determination. A common theme within this biology is a rewiring of metabolism to support and drive these processes. We strive to understand this altered metabolism as well as the nature of its normal counterpart. At the core of this effort lies the utilization of computational modeling and high throughput technologies such as mass spectrometry-based metabolomics. We define our systems biology approach through combining these tools with an integration of genetics, biochemistry, and cell biology. Investing such effort we believe has the potential to fundamentally alter our understanding of disease biology and lead to innovative therapies.

Current subjects of interest include:

- The Warburg Effect and Cancer Cell Metabolism

-serine, glycine and one carbon metabolism in cancer

- Metabolic Signal Transduction

- Metabolic Control of Epigenetics and Cell Fate

- Mass Spectrometry and Metabolomics

- Computational Techniques for Interpreting Biochemical Networks and Pathway Dynamics


Ph.D., 2008 - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Biological Engineering

B.A., 2003 - Rutgers University, Chemistry, Physics

Courses Taught:

Nutritional Sciences 3320 - Methods in Nutritional Sciences

Biology 2990 - Introduction to Research Methods in Biology

Nutritional Sciences 4010 - Empirical Methods


Cornell University       Nutritional Sciences 3310 - Physiological and Biochemical Basis of Human Nutrition, Guest Lecturer

Cornell University       Nutritional Sciences 3980 - Research in Human Nutrition and Health, Guest Lecturer

Cornell University       CHEM 4500 – Principles of Chemical Biology, Guest Lecturer

Cornell University       BioMG 8370 – Problems in Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology

Cornell University       BioMG7810 - Problems in Genetics and Development

Related Websites:


Administrative Responsibilities:

Graduate Field of Computational Biology, Admissions Committee 2013

Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology, Admissions Committee 2013-2014

Selected Publications:

Locasale JW “Serine glycine and one-carbon units-cancer metabolism in full circle” Nat Rev Cancer. 2013 Aug;13(8):572-83.
Hu J, Locasale JW, Bielas JH, O'Sullivan J, Sheahan K, Cantley LC, Vander Heiden MG, Vitkup D.  “Heterogeneity of tumor-induced changes in the human metabolic network” Nat Biotechnol. 2013 Apr 21.
Ng SC, Locasale JW, Zheng Y, Asara JM, Daley GQ, Cantley LC.  et al. “Influence of threonine on S-adenosyl-methione levels and histone methylation”  Science. 2012 Nov 1.
Locasale JW, et al  Mol Cell Proteomics. 2012 Jun;11(6):M111.014688.
Locasale JW, et al  “Phosphoglycerate dehydrogenase diverts glycolytic flux and contributes to oncogenesis” Nature Genetics, 2011 Jul 31;43(9):869-74.

The information on this bio page is taken from the CHE Annual Report.