hero image
Sophia Lunt - Michigan State University. East Lansing, MI, US

Sophia Lunt

Assistant Professor | Michigan State University


The Lunt Lab focuses on understanding the role of metabolism in supporting cancer proliferation, heterogeneity, and metastasis.





loading image


Starving cancer away | Sophia Lunt | TEDxMSU Sophia Lunt - AACR Grant Recipient



The Lunt Lab focuses on understanding the role of metabolism in supporting cancer proliferation, heterogeneity, and metastasis. We combine powerful mass spectrometry, cell biology, genetic models of cancer, and fluorescent agents to investigate alterations in this complex disease. We aim to rationally design more effective, personalized therapies for cancer based on metabolic targeting.

Areas of Expertise (5)



Molecular Biology

Mass Spectrometry


Education (3)

MIT: Postdoc, Cancer Biology 2015

Princeton University: Ph.D., Chemistry 2010

Lebanon Valley College: B.S., Chemistry 2005

with Highest Honors

News (5)

New Joint Research Merges Solar Power Research and Cancer Treatments

BioSpace  online


Michigan State University researchers Sophia Lunt and Richard Lunt, a married couple, work in different departments, but have found a common ground that could lead to cancer diagnostics and therapies.

view more

Can solar technology kill cancer cells?

MSU Today  online


Scientific breakthroughs don’t always happen in labs. For Sophia and Richard Lunt, Michigan State University researchers, many of their breakthroughs happen during neighborhood walks.

view more

Sophia Lunt Traces the Effect of Metabolism on Cancer Metastasis

The Scientist  online


Sophia Lunt’s career in cancer research started with soap. “Soap is both polar and nonpolar, so it binds to nonpolar grease and also to polar water when you go to wash it away,” the Michigan State University chemist says, recalling a high school science lesson. “I thought that was really cool and wanted to learn more about molecules.”

view more

New Inventor Spotlight: Sophia Lunt

Michigan State University: Innovation Center  online


An assistant professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Michigan State University since 2016, Dr. Sophia Lunt’s research focuses on investigating metabolic regulation in cancer and aims to use metabolic targeting to design effective, personalized therapies for the complex disease

view more

MSU researcher receives prestigious grant award to advance cancer investigations

College of Natural Science  online


Sophia Lunt, MSU assistant professor of biochemistry and molecular biology (BMB) in the College of Natural Science (NatSci), is one of only four scientists nationally to receive a 2016 NextGen Grant for Transformative Cancer Research from the AACR.

view more

Journal Articles (5)

Modulating cellular cytotoxicity and phototoxicity of fluorescent organic salts through counterion pairing

Scientific Reports

2019 Light-activated theranostics offer promising opportunities for disease diagnosis, image-guided surgery, and site-specific personalized therapy. However, current fluorescent dyes are limited by low brightness, high cytotoxicity, poor tissue penetration, and unwanted side effects.

view more

Integrated analyses of murine breast cancer models reveal critical parallels with human disease

Nature Communications

2019 Mouse models have an essential role in cancer research, yet little is known about how various models resemble human cancer at a genomic level. Here, we complete whole genome sequencing and transcriptome profiling of two widely used mouse models of breast cancer, MMTV-Neu and MMTV-PyMT.

view more

Genomic and metabolomic analysis of step-wise malignant transformation in human skin fibroblasts


2019 Metabolic changes accompanying a step-wise malignant transformation was investigated using a syngeneic lineage of human fibroblasts. Cell immortalization was associated with minor alterations in metabolism. Consecutive loss of cell cycle inhibition in immortalized cells resulted in increased levels of oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS).

view more

Metabolomic profiling of mouse mammary tumor derived cell lines reveals targeted therapy options for cancer subtypes


2019 Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease with several subtypes that currently do not have targeted therapy options. Metabolomics has the potential to uncover novel targeted treatment strategies by identifying metabolic pathways required for cancer cells to survive and proliferate.

view more

Sialic Acid Metabolism: A Key Player in Breast Cancer Metastasis Revealed by Metabolomics

Frontiers in Oncology

2018 Metastatic breast cancer is currently incurable. It has recently emerged that different metabolic pathways support metastatic breast cancer. To further uncover metabolic pathways enabling breast cancer metastasis, we investigated metabolic differences in mouse tumors of differing metastatic propensities using mass spectrometry-based metabolomics.

view more