Romain Cartoni

Romain Cartoni
Assistant Professor of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology
Assistant Professor in Ophthalmology
Affiliate of the Regeneration Next Initiative
Email address: romain.cartoni@duke.edu

Dr. Cartoni scientific career has focused on mitochondrial adaptations to neuronal stress. A Switzerland native, he obtained a PhD in Biology from the University of Geneva (Switzerland) where he worked in the Cell Biology Department under the supervision of mitochondrial apoptosis pioneer Professor Jean-Claude Martinou. His doctoral work studied the role of mitochondrial fusion defect in the diseased peripheral nervous system.

 After a transitional post-doc at the University of Lausanne (Switzerland), Dr. Cartoni was offered a research fellow position at the F.M. Kirby Neurobiology Center in Boston Children’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School to work in the laboratory of Professor Zhigang He who spearhead the field of axonal regeneration. In close collaboration with his department neighbour Professor Thomas L. Schwarz, Dr. Cartoni discovered that a mitochondrial protein called Armcx1 was sufficient to mobilize mitochondria, and promote axonal regeneration and survival of retinal ganglion cells after optic nerve injury. This study provided a strong evidence for the role of mitochondria during neuronal repair and opened new horizons for mitochondrial medicine.

In Januray 2018, Dr. Cartoni was jointly recruited by the department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology and the Ophthalmology department to open his research laboratory at the Duke Eye Center. The research conducted in Dr. Cartoni laboratory focuses on finding mechanisms and regulators that promote neuronal survival and axonal regeneration by modulating mitochondrial function and dynamics.  The laboratory main interests are the blinding diseases affecting the retinal ganglion cell axons and how one can help make the optic nerve regenerate.

Education and Training

  • University of Geneva, Ph.D. 2009