at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery

Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed

Position title: Graduate Student, IPiB



  • ACS accredited B.S., Chemistry with biochemistry emphasis Summa Cum Laude, Hope College, Holland, MI

Research Description

In a range of species from flies to monkeys it has been documented that a diet with prolonged reduction in calories can dramatically improve health and slow the process of aging, but the molecular details of this process are largely unknown. Kristin Dittenhafer-Reed’s research uses biochemical approaches to uncover details on how a reduction in calories acts at the basic level to regulate the function of the mitochondria, the energy producers of the cell. Dittenhafer-Reed’s focus is on the protein deacetylase Sirt3, a member of a family of mammalian sirtuin enzymes implicated in age-related diseases. In response to a reduction in calories, Sirt3 levels increase in the mitochondria, resulting in altered metabolism, improved mitochondrial health, and protection from oxidative stress.


Graduate Awards: NIH Biotechnology Training Grant, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, University of Wisconsin Graduate Trainee Award

Undergraduate Awards: Phi Beta Kappa National Honor Society, Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, Eli Lilly Undergraduate Organic Summer Research Fellowship, Hope College Biochemistry Award, Hope College Organic Chemistry Book Award, Hope College Jaecker Scholarship, Hope College VanderWerf Scholar

Selected Publications

  • Still AJ, Floyd BJ, Hebert AS, Bingman CA, Carson JJ, Gunderson DR, Dolan BK, Grimsrud PA, Dittenhafer-Reed KE, Stapleton DS, Keller MP, Westphall MS, Denu JM, Attie AD, Coon JJ, Pagliarini DJ. Quantification of mitochondrial acetylation dynamics highlights prominent sites of metabolic regulation, J Biol Chem. 2013, 288(36): 26209-19
  • Hebert AS*, Dittenhafer-Reed KE*, Yu W, Bailey DJ, Selen ES, Boersma, MD, Carson JJ, Tonelli M, Balloon AJ, Higbe AJ, Westphall MS, Pagliarini DJ, Prolla, TA, Assadi-Porter F, Roy S, Denu JM, Coon JJ. Calorie restriction and SIRT3 trigger global reprogramming of the mitochondrial acetylome, Mol Cell. 2013, 49: 186-199. *Authors contributed equally.
  • Feldman JL*, Dittenhafer-Reed KE*, Denu JM. Sirtuin catalysis and regulation, J Biol Chem. 2012, 287 (51): 42419-27. *Authors contributed equally.
  • Yu W, Dittenhafer-Reed KE, Denu JM. SIRT3 protein deacetylates isocitrate dehydrogenase 2 (IDH2) and regulates mitochondrial redox status, J Biol Chem. 2012, 287 (17): 14078-86.
  • Dittenhafer-Reed KE*, Feldman JL*, Denu JM. Catalysis and mechanistic insights into sirtuin activation. Chembiochem. 2011, 12: 281-289. *Authors contributed equally.
  • Shimazu T, Hirschey MD, Hua L, Dittenhafer-Reed KE, Schwer B, Lombard DB, Li Y, Bunkenborg J, Alt FW, Denu JM, Jacobson MP, Verdin E. SIRT3 deacetylates mitochondrial 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA synthase 2 and regulates ketone body production, Cell Metab. 2010, 12: 654-661.
  • Desta D, Sjoholm R, Lee L, Lee M, Dittenhafer K, Canche S, Babu B, Chavda S, Dewar C, Yanow S, Best AA, Lee M. Synthesis and antiprotozoal activity of 1,2,3,4-tetrahydro-2-thioxopyrimidine analogs of Combretastatin A-4. Med. Chem. Res. 2010, 20: 364-369.
  • Dittenhafer K, Das U, Younglove BL, Mackay H, Brown T, Dimmock JR, Lee M, Pati H. 2-(3-Arylacryloyl)-3-methylquinoxaline 1,4-dioxides as potential hypoxic selective cytotoxins, Heterocyclic Commun. 2008, 14: 383-386.