Dr Julia Whitehall

Research Associate


I joined the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research at Newcastle University in 2015 to complete my Masters of Research in Ageing and Health, for which I undertook a project investigating the effect of nutritional intervention on the metabolism of fat cells. I subsequently completed my PhD in the Centre with Dr Laura Greaves and Professor Sir Doug Turnbull, and Dr Neil Perkins, studying how ageing alters our mitochondria and how this effects the development of colorectal cancer. I completed my PhD in 2020 and continued as a postdoctoral researcher in the Centre working with Dr Laura Greaves.

During my BSc I worked part time as a Street scientist for Newcastle University, communicating science to the general public. It was during my time as a Street Scientist where I became a keen advocate for helping making complex science accessible and understandable to the public. I have since worked in other public engagement roles and continue to participate in teaching and outreach activities within the WCMR to help educate students, patients and the general public about my research.

Research Focus

Investigating the effect of age-associated mitochondrial alterations in intestinal tumour development.

During ageing an accumulation of damage to the mitochondria in our cells leads to an energy production defect, which affects the functioning and health of our tissues. In humans an accumulation of such damage is seen to occur in the stem cells responsible for the regeneration and cellular balance of the intestine. Subsequently my work aims to investigate the physiological effects of age-associated mitochondrial alterations in the intestine and how this may contribute to colorectal cancer development. My project uses a range of molecular and cellular techniques with the aim of finding novel targets and strategies for cancer therapies.