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Lizbeth de la Cruz, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Glucose metabolism and aging

Office: Life Sciences 440

(208) 282-5446


Curriculum Vitae



We aim to study the function of pancreatic β-cells throughout life, mainly focusing on the aging process. β-cells detect high glucose levels, triggering the release of insulin—a crucial hormone in regulating glucose metabolism. Investigating the cellular and molecular mechanisms underlying insulin release throughout a lifetime offers valuable insights into understanding the increased susceptibility to developing metabolic diseases, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, during aging.

Research Area 1: β-cells are excitable. Thus, insulin release relies on an electric response. In our laboratory, we integrate electrophysiology, calcium measurements, and imaging techniques to investigate the electrical properties of β-cells and the function of ion channels across different ages.

Research Area 2: Insulin release is finely regulated by the autonomic nervous system. Aging is linked to a dysfunction in the sympathetic system, a branch of the autonomic nervous system. Our laboratory integrates electrophysiology, calcium measurements, tissue-clearing methods, and 3D modeling to investigate whether the regulation of the sympathetic system on β-cell function and insulin release is affected during aging.


2017, Ph.D., Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

2012, B.S., Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México

Biographical Sketch

My career has been dedicated to studying membrane biophysics and the signaling mechanisms that regulate excitability in pancreatic β-cells and neurons. In addition to my work at the cellular and molecular levels, I have established collaborations for multidisciplinary research, focusing on studying metabolic disorders as multifactorial diseases within the Mexican population.

Technically, I have broad experience working with electrophysiological techniques, calcium imaging, lipid mass spectrometry, super-resolution confocal microscopy, FRET, TIRF, and basic mathematical modeling.

Beyond my research pursuits, I am fervently committed to education and mentorship. I have actively participated in diverse public programs, primarily dedicated to disseminating scientific knowledge within our community through writing articles and conducting science outreach seminars. Additionally, I have served as a mentor for high school students to support their professional aspirations.

Publications (selected publications)

Peer-reviewed original research publications 

  1. de la Cruz L, Bui D, Moreno CM, Vivas O. Sympathetic Motor Neuron Dysfunction is a Missing Link in Age-Associated Sympathetic Overactivity. eLife, 2023, in press.
  2. Jensen JB, Falkenburger BH, Dickson EJ, de la Cruz L, Dai G, Myeong J, Jung SR, Kruse M, Vivas O, Suh BC, Hille B. Biophysical physiology of phosphoinositide rapid dynamics and regulation in living cells. J Gen Physiol, 2022, 154: e202113074.
  3. de la Cruz L, Kushmerick C, Kruse M and Vivas O. Hippocampal neurons maintain a large PtdIns(4)P pool that results in faster PtdIns(4,5)P2 synthesis. J Gen Physiol, 2022, 154: e202113001.
  4. Barajas-Martiınez A, Easton JF, Rivera AL, Ricardo Martínez-Tapia R, de la Cruz L, Robles-Cabrera A, Stephens CR. Metabolic Physiological Networks: The Impact of Age. Front. Physiol, 2020, 11: 587994.
  5. Stephens CR, Easton JF, Robles-Cabrera A, Fossion R, de la Cruz L, Ricardo Martínez-Tapia R, Barajas-Martiınez A, Hernandez-Chavez A, Lopez-Rivera JA, Rivera AL. Metabolic risk and the role of higher education. Front Public Health. 2020, 8: 180.
  6. de la Cruz L, Puente EI, Reyes-Vaca A, Arenas I, Garduño J, Bravo-Martínez J, Garcia DE. PIP2 in pancreatic β cells regulates voltage-gated calcium channel. Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2016, 311(4):C630-C640

Science Outreach Articles

  1. de la Cruz. Diversity as the fuel of my scientific career. J Cell Sci, 2022, 135: jcs26003. https://journals.biologists.com/jcs/article/135/9/jcs260038/275240/Diversity-as-the-fuel-of-my-scientific-career
  2. First person – de la Cruz L interview. J Cell Sci, 2020, 133: jcs243147 5. https://doi.org/10.1242/jcs.243147