Projects

The Investigators in MitoSci Med are currently pursuing four collaborative projects:


Project One

Mitochondrial and Cellular Energetics in Mammalian and Bacterial Model

 

In this project our GOAL is to elucidate the relationship between mitochondrial function and human diseases and aging using mammalian and bacterial models.

Our APPROACH is

  1. To investigate the relationship between oxygen signaling, cellular energetics, and mitochondrial transport;
  2. To determine the role of critical mitochondrial proteins in modulating metabolic phenotype (cytochrome oxidase isoforms; peripheral benzodiazepine receptor/PBR, 18-kDa translocator protein, TSPO).

Project Two

Drosophila Models of Mitochondrial Biogenesis, Metabolism and Aging

In this project our GOAL is to employ flies as a model system to examine mechanisms and regulation of mitochondrial biogenesis, metabolism, and aging.

Our APPROACH is

To develop and evaluate transgenic Drosophila that are impaired in mitochondrial DNA replication, transcription, metabolic function, and protein turnover to analyze their effects on mitochondrial biogenesis and transport, cellular metabolism, and organismal aging.

Project Three


Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Rescue in Parkinson's Disease 

In this project our GOAL is to identify and evaluate neuroprotective therapies for PD.

Our APPROACH is

  1. To analyze axonal density and transport of mitochondria in mitochondrial biogenesis-impaired Parkinson's flies;
  2. To investigate the role of Parkin-mediated maintenance of mitochondrial function and homeostasis in mammalian models of PD neurodegeneration in vitro and in vivo;
  3. To determine the role of 18-kDa translocator protein (TSPO) in neuronal and microglial responses to environmental neurotoxicants;
  4. To conduct clinical trials of mitochondrial MAO-B inhibitors and creatine as disease modifying therapies in patients with PD.

Project Four

Mitochondrial Regulation in Cancer

In this project our GOAL is to elucidate the relationship between mitochondrial function and cancer using 3D mammalian cell culture systems and mouse xenograft models.

Our APPROACH is

1. To decipher the cellular signaling mechanisms by which cancer cells thwart mitochondrial apoptosis;

2. To investigate the relationship between key mitochondrial proteins (TSPO/ PBR, ANT2) and the acquisition of the malignant phenotype

3. To examine the hypoxia-induced changes in metabolism and mitochondrial function that impart increased tumor-forming potential.