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Zulfiya Orynbayeva

Zulfiya Orynbayeva, PhD, MSc

Assistant Professor

Department: Surgery


  • MSc and PhD in Biophysics - Tashkent State University, USSR (1984-1993)

Dr. Orynbayeva is an assistant professor in the Department of Surgery at Drexel University College of Medicine.

Research Overview

There are two main areas of research in Dr. Orynbayeva's laboratory: mitochondria pathophysiology and nanomedicine.

Specifically, the lab focuses on:

  • Tissue specific bioenergetic signatures of various tumor types.
  • Developing anti-cancer therapies by targeting mitochondria energetic metabolism.
  • Developing single cell-based array nanotechnologies for analysis of cellular metabolomics.

Research Interests

Mitochondria pathophysiology focusing on tissue-specific bioenergetic signature of tumors types, development of anti-cancer therapies by targeting mitochondria energetic metabolism, and single cell-based array nanotechnologies for analysis of cellular metabolomics


The research in Dr. Orynbayeva's laboratory focuses on exploration of bioenergetic characteristics of mitochondria for prognosis and therapy of malignancies. After many years of ostracism by the research community, the energetic metabolism of cancer has gained acceptance as an important attribute of cancer. The loss of normal mitochondria function enables cancer cells to escape cell death by the mitochondria-induced apoptotic pathway. However, this is not the only scenario of tumor development and aggressiveness. In contrast, some tumors, like prostate cancer, have very active mitochondria and very low glycolytic metabolism. Therefore, each tumor type has to be considered from the point of tissue physiology and individually studied with respect to the energy supplying machinery. Dr. Orynbayeva believes that, along with genetic and metabolic backgrounds of malignancy, it is important to consider the association of tumorigenic transformations with the host microenvironment, which dramatically influences overall cancer homeostasis.

The lab studies mitochondria respiratory and oxidative phosphorylation functions on different levels: isolated mitochondria, intact and permeabilized cells, and tissue samples. The respirometric oxygraph analytic technique available in the laboratory provides an integrated screening approach for studying structural and biochemical injuries of mitochondria which reflect not only rearrangement of membrane structure, but also defects of enzymatic systems in membrane transport, electron transport, and ATP synthesis.


Recent Publications

“Tumor microenvironment promotes dicarboxylic acid carrier-mediated transport of succinate to fuel prostate cancer mitochondria”
A Zhunussova, B Sen, L Friedman, S Tuleukhanov, AD Brooks, R Sensenig, Z Orynbayeva
American Journal of Cancer Research, 5(5), 1665-79 (2015)

“Knockout of cyclophilin D in Ppif-/- mice increases stability of brain mitochondria against Ca2+ stress”
T Gainutdinov, JD Molkentin, D Siemen, M Ziemer, G Debska-Vielhaber, S Vielhaber, Z Gizatullina, Z Orynbayeva, FN Gellerich
Archives of Biochemistry and Biophysics, 579, 40-6 (2015)

“Metabolic and structural integrity of magnetic nanoparticle-loaded primary endothelial cells for targeted cell therapy”
Z Orynbayeva, R Sensenig, B Polyak
Nanomedicine - Future Medicine, 10(10), 1555-68 (2015)

“Fatty acids in energy metabolism of the central nervous system”
AV Panov, Z Orynbayeva, V Vavilin, V Lyakhovich
Biomedical Research International,  2014, 472459 (2014)

"Bioenergetic and antiapoptotic properties of mitochondria from cultured human prostate cancer cell lines PC-3, DU145 and LNCaP"
AV Panov, Z Orynbayeva
PLoS One, 8(8), e72078 (2013)

"The control of brain mitochondrial energization by cytosolic calcium: the mitochondrial gas pedal"
FNGellerich, Z Gizatullina, T Gainutdinov, K Muth, E Seppet, Z Orynbayeva, S Vielhaber
IUBMB Life, 65(3),180-90 (2013)

"Physiological validation of cell health upon probing with carbon nanotube endoscope and its benefit for single cell interrogation"
Z Orynbayeva, R Singhal, E. A Vitol, M Schrlau, E Papazoglou, G Friedman, Y Gogotsi
Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine, 8(5), 590-598 (2011)

"Multifunctional Carbon-Nanotube Cellular Endoscopes"
R Singhal, Z Orynbayeva, RVK Sundaram, M Schrlau, S Bhattacharyya, E Vitol, JJ Niu, E Papazoglou, G Friedman, Y Gogotsi
Nature Nanotechnology, 6, 57-64 (2011)

"Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy as a tool for detecting Ca2+ mobilizing second messengers in cell extracts"
EA Vitol, E Brailoiu, Z Orynbayeva, NJ Dun, G Friedman, Y Gogotsi
Analytical Chemistry, 82 (16), 6770-6774 (2010)

View Dr. Orynbayeva's publications in PubMed

Additional publication in PubMed under author name Orynbaeva

Contact Information

Academic Office

Department of Surgery
245 N. 15th Street
Mail Stop 413
Philadelphia, PA 19102
Phone: 215.762.2052
Fax: 215.762.8386