Division of Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases

Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D.

Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo

Professor, Department of Developmental & Molecular Biology

Professor, Department of Anatomy & Structural Biology

Professor, Department of Medicine (Gastroenterology & Liver Diseases)

Robert and Renée Belfer Chair for the Study of Neurodegenerative Diseases


Professional Interests

Dr. Cuervo is co-director of the Einstein Institute for Aging Research, and a member of the Einstein Liver Research Center and Cancer Center. In 2001 she started her laboratory at Einstein, where she studies the role of protein-degradation in aging and age-related disorders, with emphasis in neurodegeneration.

Dr. Cuervo’s group is interested in understanding how altered proteins can be eliminated from the cells. Her group has linked alterations in lysosomal protein degradation (autophagy) with different neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and Huntington’s disease. They have also proven that restoration of normal lysosomal function prevents accumulation of damaged proteins with age, demonstrating this way that removal of these toxic products is possible.

Dr. Cuervo is considered a leader in the field of protein degradation in relation to biology of aging and has been invited to present her work in numerous national and international institutions, including the Robert R. Konh Memorial Lecture, the NIH Director’s Lecture, the Roy Walford Endowed Lecture, the Cherkin Award lecture on Gerontolgy, the Feodor Lynen Lecture and the Margaret Pitman Lecture. She has organized and chaired international conferences on protein degradation and on aging, belongs to the editorial board of scientific journals in this topic, and is currently co-editor-in-chief of Aging Cell and associate editor of Autophagy.

Dr. Cuervo has served in NIH advisory panels, special emphasis panels, and study sections, and has been recently elected member of the NIA Scientific Council. She has received the 2005 P. Benson Award in Cell Biology, the 2005/8 Keith Porter Fellow in Cell Biology, the 2006 Nathan Shock Memorial Lecture Award, the 2008 Vincent Cristofalo Rising Start in Aging Award, the 2010 Bennett J. Cohen Award in Aging Biology, and the 2012 Marshall S. Horwitz, MD Faculty Prize for Research Excellence.



Selected Publications

(selected from >150 per review publications)

  1. Cuervo, A.M.*; Stephanis, L.; Freundberg, R.; Lansbury, P.; Sulzer, D. Impaired degradation of mutant alpha-synuclein by chaperone-mediated autophagy. Science305, 1292-1295, 2004
  2. Kaushik, S.; Massey, A.C.; Kiffin, R., Cuervo, A.M*. Role of lysosomal lipid microdomains in the regulation of chaperone-mediated autophagy. EMBO J. 25, 3921-33, 2006
  3. Zhang, C., Cuervo, AM*. Restoration of chaperone-mediated autophagy in aging improves cellular maintenance and organ function. Nat. Med. 14: 959-65, 2008
  4. Singh, R.; Kaushik, S.; Wang, Y.; Xiang, Y.; Novak, I; Komatsu, M.; Tanaka, K.; Cuervo, A.M*.; Czaja, M.J*.  Autophagy regulates lipid metabolism. Nature 458:1131-5, 2009
  5. Martinez-Vicente M, Talloczy Z, Wong E, Tang G, Koga H, de Vries R, Kaushik S, Arias E, Harris S, Sulzer D, Cuervo AM*  Cargo recognition failure is responsible for inefficient autophagy in Huntington’s Disease. Nat. Neurosci. 13:567-76, 2010
  6. Bandyopadhyay U, Shridar S, Kaushik S, Kiffin R, Cuervo AM*, Identification of regulators of chaperone-mediated autophagy. Mol Cell 39: 535-47, 2010.
  7. Koga H., Kaushik S., Macian F. Verkushka, V. Cuervo AM* A photoconvertible fluorescent reporter to track chaperone-mediated autophagy. Nat Comm 2: 386, 2011
  8. Kon, M, Koga, Hl, Kiffin, R., Chapochnick, J. Macian, F, Vartikovski L., Cuervo AM*. Chaperone-mediated autophagy is required for turmor growth. Science TM 3:109ra117, 2011
  9. Rodriguez-Navarro JA, Kaushik S, Koga H, Dall’Armi, Shui G, Wenk MR, Di Paolo G, Cuervo  AM*, Inhibitory effect of dietary lipids on chaperone-mediated autophagy. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 109: E705-14, 2012.
  10. Wong E, Bejarano E, Hanson HH, Zaarur N, Phillips GR, Sherman MY, Cuervo AM*. Molecular determinants of selective clearance of protein inclusions by autophagy. Nat Comm 3:1240, 2012
  11. Orenstein SJ, Kuo SH, Tasset-Cuevas I, Arias E, Koga H, Fernandez-Carasa I, Cortes, E., Honig, L.S., Dauer, W., Consiglio A, Raya A, Sulzer, D, Cuervo AM. Interplay of LRRK2 with chaperone-mediated autophagy. Nat. Neurosci. 16:394-406, 2013
  12. Anguiano J, Gaerner T, Daas B, Gavathiotis E, Cuervo AM. Chemical modulation of Chaperone-mediated autophagy by novel retinoic acid derivatives. Nat. Chem. Biol. 9:374-82, 2013
  13. Pampliega O, Orhon I, Patel B, Sridhar S, Diaz-Carretero A, Beau I, Codogno P, Satir B, Satir P, Cuervo AM Functional interaction between autophagy and ciliogenesis. Nature 502:194-200, 2013
  14. Bejarano, E, Yuste, A, Patel B, Stout, RJ, Spary, D Cuervo AM. Connexins modulate autophagosome biogenesis. Nat. Cell. Biol. 16:401-14, 2014
  15. Schneider JL, Suh Y, Cuervo AM*.  Deficient chaperone-mediated autophagy in liver leads to metabolic disregulation. Cell Metab.[e-pub, ahead of printing], 2014


  1. Wong E, Cuervo AM*Autophagy gone awry in neurodegenerative diseases. Nat. Neurosci. 13: 805-11, 2010
  2. Cuervo, AM. Chaperone-mediated autophagy: selectivity pays off. Trends. Endocrinol Metab. 21: 142-150, 2010
  3. Singh R, Cuervo AM. Autophagy in the cellular energetic balance. Cell Metab 13: 495-504, 2011
  4. Cuervo AM. Chaperone-mediated autophagy: Dice’s wild idea about lysosomal selectivity. Nat. Rev. Mol. Cell Biol  12:535-41, 2011 (Timeline)
  5. Cuervo AM, Macian F. Autophagy, nutrition and immunology.  Mol Aspects Med, 33: 2-13, 2012
  6. Kaushik S, Cuervo AM. Chaperone-mediated autophagy: a unique way to enter the lysosome world. Trends Cell Biol 22: 407-17, 2012
  7. Schneider JL, Cuervo AM. Liver autophagy: much more than taking out trash. Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 11:187-200, 2013
  8. Schneider JL, Cuervo AM. Autophagy and human disease: emerging themes. Curr Opin Genet. Dev. 26C:16-23, 2014



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More Information About Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo

Developmental and Molecular Biology Page

Cuervo Lab web page

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Media Coverage

Nature interviews Dr. Ana Maria Cuervo about her research on autophagy, a critical cellular recycling process linked to numerous diseases.

The Scientist profiles Ana Maria Cuervo, M.D., Ph.D., detailing her career path and research in autophagy.

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