Ximena M. Bustamante-Marin, PhD

Assistant Professor
Department of Nutrition


Dr. Bustamante-Marin earned her PhD in Biological Sciences with mention in Physiology from Universidad Catolica of Chile. After completing a Research Scholar training at Duke University and a postdoctoral appointment in the Cystic fibrosis Department at UNC, Dr. Bustamante-Marin joined the Gillings School's Department of Nutrition in July 2019 as a Research Assistant Professor. Her research focus on understanding how the cells perceive signals from the microenvironment to control cellular functions and cell fate decisions; a fundamental goal in stem cell and cancer cell biology. Currently Dr. Bustamante-Marin is investigating the role of primary cilia underlying the impact of obesity on cancer. The primary cilia play a role in cancer hallmarks including, reprogramming of cell metabolism, escape from apoptosis, angiogenesis, and migration that leads to metastasis. In addition, signals from the adipose tissue could promote obesity-associated tumors. Understanding the role of cilia in adipose tissue, the tumor microenvironment, and on the crosstalk between the players could generate opportunities for clinical interventions.

Honors and Awards

2019, UNC-AIRC/WCR Marilyn Gentry Fellow

Research Activities

•    Ciliary Function
•    Cancer
•    Obesity
•    Cell signaling
•    Aging
•    Genomics
•    Nutrition and Physical Activity

Key Publications

“Quantitative Proteomic Analysis of Human Airway Cilia Identifies Previously Uncharacterized Proteins of High Abundance". Bustamante-Marin X.*, Blackburn K.*, , Yin W., Goshe M. B., Ostrowski L. E.  (1970). J Proteome Res, 16(4), 1579-1592.

“Testicular Teratomas: An intersection of Pluripotency, Differentiation, and Cancer Biology”. Bustamante-Marín X., Garness J. A., and Capel B.  (2013). Int J Dev Biol., 57(2-4), 201-10.

“Left-Biased Spermatogenic Failure in 129/SvJ Dnd1Ter/+ Mice Correlates with Differences in Vascular Architecture, Oxygen Availability, and Metabolites”. Bustamante-Marin X., Cook M. S., Gooding J., Newgard C. and Capel B.  (2015). Biol Reprod., 93(3), 78.

“A grafted Ovarian Fragment Rescues host Fertility after Chemotherapy”. Batchvarov IS, Taylor RW, Bustamante-Marín X., Czerwinski M, Johnson ES, Kornbluth S, Capel B.  (2016). Mol Hum Reprod., 22(12), 842-851.

“Apoptosis, Necrosis and Autophagy are Influenced by Metabolic Energy Sources in cultured Rat spermatocytes. Bustamante-Marín X., Quiroga C, Lavandero S, Reyes JG, Moreno RD.  (2012). Apoptosis, 17(6), 539-50.

"Lack of GAS2L2 Causes PCD by Impairing Cilia Orientation and Mucociliary Clearance". Bustamante-Marin X. M., Yin W. N., Sears P. R., Werner M. E., Brotslaw E. J., Mitchell B. J., Jania C. M., Zeman K. L., Rogers T. D., Herring L. E., Refabért L., Thomas L., Amselem S., Escudier E., Legendre M., Grubb B. R., Knowles M. R., Zariwala M. A., Ostrowski L. E.  (2019). Am J Hum Genet., 7(104), 229-245. doi: 10.1016/j.ajhg.2018.12.009. Epub 2019 Jan 18.


  • Ph.D., Biological Sciences with mention in the Physiological Sciences, Universidad Catolica de Chile, 2009
  • M.S., Biological Sciences, Universidad Catolica de Chile, 2008
  • B.S., Biochemistry, Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso, 2006