Schilling Lab

Birgit Schilling, PhD

Associate Professor

Uncovering how protein pathways are implicated in aging and disease.

Lab focus

The Schilling lab uses advanced mass spectrometric technology to understand molecular mechanisms that underlie aging. Analyzing samples on the molecular level provides insights into protein pathways and mechanisms of disease and aging. We collaborate with all investigators at the Buck as well as investigators from outside institutions.  The Schilling lab develops and implements advanced innovative protein analytical technologies (including quantitative proteomics, posttranslational modifications, protein dynamics and biomarker discovery) to advance basic biology and biomedical research related to aging research.

The Schilling lab engages in many collaborative projects and is engaged in worldwide mass spectrometric studies, as well as software development. Many different workflows are supported at our facility or can be developed together to support biological projects with innovative technologies to gain insights into molecular details in a system-wide approach.  At the same time, worldwide collaborations with other proteomics and mass spectrometry laboratories keep our cutting edge workflows and our approach at the forefront of analytical technology.

Learn more about the Proteomics and Mass Spectometry Center.

Why it matters

Understanding what happens during aging and the development of age-related disease, and what is different in a diseased organism compared with a healthy organism, are key to developing treatments, drugs and interventions. We have focused on developing assays to discover biomarkers of aging and disease from easily accessible biofluids, such as plasma or blood from human patients. Connecting these findings with fundamental mechanisms of aging in model systems available at the Buck will drive our research forward in significant ways.

Combining specialized Proteomics Technology with Aging Biology will allow us to gain deeper insights into underlying mechanisms and pathways of Aging.

Birgit Schilling, PhD

The Schilling lab is pleased to acknowledge the generous support of the following major funders:

Birgit Schilling is the Director of the Mass Spectrometry Core and an Associate Professor at The Buck Institute for Research on Aging. Dr. Schilling studied Chemistry at the University of Hamburg and received her Doctorate (PhD) from the University of Clausthal, Germany. Dr. Schilling obtained additional research training as a postdoctoral fellow at UCSF, and joined the Buck Institute in 2000. She is also Adjunct Professor at University of Southern California and is teaching at the Buck Institute as part of the joined Buck Institute/USC PhD program.

Dr. Schilling and the Mass Spectrometry Core provide expertise in mass spectrometry to efficiently analyze biological samples, for example to determine changes in protein expression or protein modifications as a result of a disease or other biological conditions. Collaborative research projects investigated at the Mass Spectrometry Core comprise projects related to neurodegenerative diseases, aging, cancer, muscle atrophy, protein posttranslational modifications, mitochondrial damage, biomarker research, and many other scientific areas. Specific areas of interest are a sarcopenia project deciphering underlying causes and biological pathways of muscle atrophy, as well as the role of sirtuins on posttranslational modifications of proteins.

Dr. Schilling is also interested in developing new Proteomics workflows and new technological approaches that will subsequently benefit biological projects. Dr. Schilling is a board member of the US HUPO, the Human Proteome Organization, which is dedicated to advance mass spectrometric technologies to study the human proteome (‘from genes to function’). Dr. Schilling has participated in large, international, mass spectrometric studies.

Dr. Schilling has experience working with biotechnology companies. Dr. Schilling collaborated with MitoSciences in the development of new antibodies. She investigated protein acetylation in collaboration with Sirtris Pharmaceuticals, and she has worked with BioMarin providing mass spectrometric expertise and sample analysis. Recently, Dr. Schilling started collaborations with Unity Biotechnology focusing on the role of cellular senescence in an ongoing research project.

  • Natan Basisty, PhD  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Natan Basisty is a postdoctoral fellow who joined The Buck Institute in 2015. He received his Ph.D. in Pathology and B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Washington. He has been developing and applying mass spectrometry approaches to study the role of proteins and cellular protein quality control in health and aging for over 7 years. His current research focuses on discovering biomarkers of cellular senescence and developing translationally relevant approaches to study senescent cells.

  • Joanna Bons, PhD  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Joanna received her diploma of Engineer in Biotechnology from the School of Biotechnology (ESBS) in Strasbourg (France) and her PhD in Analytical Chemistry from the University of Strasbourg. She did her PhD under the supervision of Dr. Christine Carapito at the Laboratory of BioOrganic Mass Spectrometry (LSMBO, Strasbourg) and her work aimed at improving proteome quantification and characterization using quantitative mass spectrometry. Joanna joined the Schilling Lab in September 2020 where she focused on studying protein posttranslational modifications.

  • Amy O’Broin  Research Associate

    Amy moved to California from Ireland in 2019. She graduated with a BSc and MSc in biopharmaceutical science. She has worked in various QC roles in multinational chemical and biopharmaceutical companies since 2011. She joined the Schilling Lab at the Buck Institute in December 2019.


  • Sandip Kumar Patel, PhD  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    Dr. Sandip Kumar Patel originally hails from the temple city Varanasi in India. Sandip completed his B.Sc. (Honors) in Zoology from the Banaras Hindu University (BHU) in Varanasi. Sandip qualified for several national-level highly competitive entrance exams for Master’s degree (JNU (lifescience and biotechnology), BHU (Zoology and Biochemistry) and JAM), and joined the M.Sc.-Ph.D. Dual degree program at the Department of Biosciences and Bioengineering Indian Institute of Technology Bombay (IITB) with Professor Sanjeeva Srivastava. Sandip’s PhD research was to identify and validate the mass spectrometry-based proteomics and metabolomics mechanisms of Plasmodium vivax disease severity (malaria research). His long-term research interest is to identify biomarkers for better disease management. To further pursue his research goal Sandip joined Professor Schilling’s lab at the Buck Institute in 2019 to understand and develop protein-biomarkers for aging and age-related/neurodegenerative diseases, such as Huntington’s disease and Parkinsonisms. Sandip’s hobbies are photography, tracking, playing cricket and exploring new places.

  • Jacob Rose  Research Associate

    Jacob is a recent Master's graduate from Dominican University of California, but originally from Little Rock, AR. He has been at the Buck for 2 years, first completing his Master's with Dr. Chris Benz and continuing on as a Research Associate in Dr. Birgit Schilling's lab working with senescent cells and the SASP Atlas.

  • Samah Shah  Research Associate

    Samah Shah graduated from the University of British Columbia with a BS in Microbiology. While there, she contributed to research on a bifunctional enzyme of F. nucleatum, and worked as a teaching assistant for a second year genetics module. She is interested in the medical and therapeutic applications of microbiology and immunology.

  • Cameron Wehrfritz  Research Associate

    Cameron is a California native. He grew up in Sonoma county and went on to earn his BS in Astrophysics from the University of California Santa Cruz. In the Spring of 2019 Cameron joined the Schilling lab at the Buck Institute to apply his computer programming and data analysis skills to real world data. He is inspired by his coworkers’ and colleagues’ drive to extend and fortify research on aging, and he enjoys participating in highly collaborative projects. Cameron enjoys running and hiking outdoors, traveling to experience different cultures and cuisines, and surfing and free diving when he can get out to the ocean.

Cynthia Curtice
Administrative Coordinator
Phone: 415-209-2030
  • J. M.
    Jesse Meyer, PhD  Postdoctoral Research Fellow

    University of Wisconsin – Madison

  • R. Q.
    Ryan Quinn

    Touro Univeristy College of Osteopathic Medicine

  • K. P.
    Kevin Perrott

    SENS Research Foundation

  • D. P.
    Deborah Post, PhD

    Amyris Inc

  • L. W.
    Lei Wei, B.S.  PhD Graduate Student

    UC Davis - Microbiology PhD program

Selected Publications
  • Wang G, Meyer JG, Cai W, Softic S, Li ME, Verdin E, Newgard C, Schilling B, Kahn CR. Regulation of UCP1 and Mitochondrial Metabolism in Brown Adipose Tissue by Reversible Succinylation. Molecular Cell. 2019;74(4):844-857.e7. PMCID: PMC6525068.
  • Collins BC, Hunter CL, Liu Y, Schilling B, Rosenberger G, Bader SL, Chan DW, Gibson BW, Gingras AC, Held JM, Hirayama-Kurogi M, Hou G, Krisp C, Larsen B, Lin L, Liu S, Molloy MP, Moritz RL, Ohtsuki S, Schlapbach R, Selevsek N, Thomas SN, Tzeng SC, Zhang H, Aebersold R. Multi-laboratory assessment of reproducibility, qualitative and quantitative performance of SWATH-mass spectrometry. Nature Communications. 2017; 8:291. PMCID: PMC5566333.
  • Bullard SA, Seo S, Schilling B, Dyle MC, Dierdorff JM, Ebert SM, DeLau AD, Gibson BW, Adams CM. Gadd45a Protein Promotes Skeletal Muscle Atrophy by Forming a Complex with the Protein Kinase MEKK4. J Biol Chem. 2016; 291(34):17496–17509. PMCID: PMC5016147.
  • Tracy TE, Sohn PD, Minami SS, Wang C, Min SW, Li Y, Zhou Y, Le D, Lo I, Ponnusamy R, Cong X, Schilling B, Ellerby L, Huganir RL, Gan L. Acetylated Tau Obstructs KIBRA-Mediated Signaling in Synaptic Plasticity and Promotes Tauopathy-Related Memory Loss. Neuron. 2016;90(2): 245-260. PMCID: PMC4859346.
  • Addona TA, Abbatiello SE, Schilling B, Skates SJ, Mani DR, Bunk DM, Spiegelman CH, Zimmerman LJ, Ham AJ, Keshishian H, Hall SC, Allen S, Blackman RK, Borchers CH, Buck C, Cardasis HL, Cusack MP, Dodder NG, Gibson BW, Held JM, Hiltke T, Jackson A, Johansen EB, Kinsinger CR, Li J, Mesri M, Neubert TA, Niles RK, Pulsipher TC, Ransohoff D, Rodriguez H, Rudnick PA, Smith D, Tabb DL, Tegeler TJ, Variyath AM, Vega-Montoto LJ, Wahlander A, Waldemarson S, Wang M, Whiteaker JR, Zhao L, Anderson NL, Fisher SJ, Liebler DC, Paulovich AG, Regnier FE, Tempst P, Carr SA. Multi-site assessment of the precision and reproducibility of multiple reaction monitoring-based measurements of proteins in plasma. Nature Biotechnology. 2009; 27(7):633-41.


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