Cynthia Mastick headshot

Cynthia Corley Mastick

Associate Professor


Professional experience

  • Current position: Associate Professor, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno (July 2020-present)
  • Past Academic Positions
    • Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, UNRMed (2016-2020)
    • Associate and Assistant Professor, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, UNRMed and University of Nevada, Reno (CABNR) (1998-2016)
  • Other Positions
    • Senior Scientist, Department of Cell Biology - Diabetes and Metabolic Disease, Parke-Davis Pharmaceutical Research (1993-1998)

Other professional experience

  • Director (and co-Developer) of the Biotechnology BS/MS Interdisciplinary degree program, Departments of Biology, Biochemistry, and Animal Biotechnology (ANVS), University of Nevada, Reno (2003-2005)
  • Director (and co-Developer) MED 631 Foundations and Principles of Medical Science (Block 1), UNRMed (2012-2016)
  • Coordinator of the planning committee to create and implement the current integrated, systems-organized years 1-2 Block curriculum, UNRMed (2010-2012)
  • Content Coordinator, Genetics, UNRMed (1999-2020)
  • Member, UNRMed Admissions Committee (2002-2006, 2018-2020)

Research interests

I have a long standing interest in the biochemistry and cell biology of adipose tissue and how this tissue is affected in Diabetes and Metabolic Disease. My current research is focused on sympathetic innervation in adipose tissue. Mobilization of fat depots is triggered via direct stimulation of  adipocytes by sympathetic nerves. The extent of innervation, and thus the ability to mobilize stored fat, is extensively and rapidly remodeled in response to environmental (e.g. cold-exposure) and pathophysiological stimuli. We are studying the signals that control this remodeling, with the hope to reverse the defects in metabolic disease. 

Courses taught

  • BIOL 315 (Cell Biology)
  • BIOL 450 (Special Topics - Genetic Determinants of Health)
  • BIOL 482 (Cell Biology of Disease)


  • Post-doctoral training, Dartmouth Medical School, Hanover NH 1991-1993
  • Ph.D. in Biochemistry, Carnegie Mellon University, 1990
  • B.S. in Biology, Carnegie Mellon University, 1985

Selected publications

  • Brewer, PD*, EN Habtemichael*, I Romenskaia, CC Mastick, and ACF Coster (2016) Glut4 is Sorted from a Rab10-Independent Constitutive Recycling Pathway into a Highly Insulin-Responsive Rab10-Dependent Sequestration Pathway after Adipocyte Differentiation. J Biol Chem, 291(2): 773-789.
  • Brewer, PD*, EN Habtemichael*, I Romenskaia, ACF Coster, CC Mastick (2016) Rab14 Limits Sorting of Glut4 from Endosomes into Insulin-Sensitive Regulated Secretory Compartments in Adipocytes. Biochem J, 473:1315-27.
  • Brewer, PD*, I Romenskaia, CC Mastick (2018) A high-throughput chemical-genetics screen in murine adipocytes identifies insulin-regulatory pathways. J Biol Chem, e-pub 27 Dec 2018. Republished in the virtual issue: Diabetes, Obesity and the Metabolic Syndrome, J Biol Chem. 2019 Sept, a collection highlighting “state of the art” research.
  • Morris, S, ND Geoghagan, JBA Sadler, AM Koeste, HL Black, M Laub, L Miller, L Heffernan, JC Simpson, CC Mastick, J Cooper, N Gadegaard, NJ Bryant, GW Gould (2020) Characterization of GLUT4 trafficking Kinetics in HeLa cells: comparable kinetics and orthologous trafficking mechanisms to 3T3-L1 adipocytes. Peer J, 8 e8751.
  • Black, HL, Livingstone, R, Mastick, CC, Al Tobi, M, Taylor, H, Geiser, A, Stirrat, L, Kioumourtzoglou, D, Petrie, JR, Boyle, JG, Bryant, NJ, & Gould, GW (2022). Knockout of syntaxin-4 in 3T3-L1 adipocytes reveals new insight into GLUT4 trafficking and adiponectin secretion. Journal of Cell Science, 135(1).