David Lombard

David Lombard, M.D., Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Pathology
Director, Cancer Biology Graduate Training Program
Accepting Students?


The focus of the Lombard group is the biology of SIRT5 and its relationships with aging and disease, with a particular focus on cancer. Dr. Lombard performed his doctoral studies with Dr. Lenny Guarente (MIT), a pioneer in sirtuin biology. After Pathology residency, Dr. Lombard pursued postdoctoral work in Dr. Fred Alt’s laboratory (HHMI), where he studied the sirtuins SIRT3 and SIRT6, supported by an NIA/NIH K08 award. Dr. Lombard was the first to describe a central role for SIRT3 in regulating mitochondrial protein acetylation (cited >900 times per Google Scholar). Subsequent studies have revealed that SIRT3 is a major player in regulating metabolism, cancer, and cardiac health. He set up his independent lab at the U-M in 2008. Among Dr. Lombard’s most significant more recent contributions have been describing SIRT6’s tumor suppressor function via metabolic regulation (Cell); and novel aspects of mitochondrial regulation by SIRT5 (Molecular Cell). He is a member of the Aging Cell and JBC editorial boards. He was named a New Scholar in Aging of the Ellison Medical Foundation, a member of The American Society for Clinical Investigation, the contact PI on a Melanoma Research Alliance Team Science project, a Scholar-Innovator of the Harrington Discovery Institute, a recipient of an AACR Innovation and Discovery award, and a regular member of the NIH study section CMAD. He serves as Director of the Cancer Biology doctoral program at the U-M, supported by T32CA009676. He also serves as Deputy Site Director for the NIA-funded Interventions Testing Program, which identifies small molecules that extend mouse health span and longevity.

Research Interests

My group is broadly interested in relationships between aging and cancer, as well as with other age-associated diseases. Much of our work focuses on the sirtuin deacylase SIRT5, a protein that removes negatively charged lysine modifications from hundreds of targets in the cell. Though SIRT5 is dispensable in most normal and tissue types, we have found that is required for survival of specific cancer types, through effects on chromatin. In our studies, we deploy a combination of cell culture, small molecule, and in vivo approaches. We have also identified important roles for SIRT5 in maintaining cardiac health and function. In other efforts, we have performed small molecule screens to identify drugs that increase cellular stress resistance, which are candidates for testing for their potential beneficial health and lifespan in mammals.

Research Opportunities for Rotating Students

We are accepting rotation students in all of our areas of interest.