Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

Megan McNiff

Biography

I completed my BSc (Hons) undergraduate degree at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, graduating with a first class in Bioscience with Biomedical Science. In 2016 I moved to Newcastle to commence my postgraduate research, firstly through an MRes in Medical Molecular Bioscience and currently, a PhD studentship within the Wellcome Trust Centre, investigating clonal expansion of mitochondrial DNA mutations.

Research Project

Targeting Clonal Expansion of Mitochondrial DNA Mutations in Ageing and Disease
Principal Investigators: Dr Brendan Payne, Dr Laura Greaves and Dr Amy Vincent

Project Details

Mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations cause multi-system disease and play an important role in ageing. Over time, low-level mtDNA mutations clonally expand within cells leading to biochemical dysfunction. This process occurs in inherited mtDNA disorders, normal ageing, and with anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for HIV, but the mechanisms remain incompletely understood.

The study will have two main parts:

  1. Skeletal muscle samples will be analysed using novel techniques developed within our group to help define the molecular nature of clonal expansions in various mitochondrial phenotypes.
  2. The study will use a mouse model to examine the natural history of clonal expansion of mtDNA point mutations in vivo as well as the potential for therapeutic manipulation by increased mitochondrial biogenesis.

This work will help to define novel approaches to target mitochondrial dysfunction in ageing and disease.

Contact: m.mcniff2@newcastle.ac.uk
Sponsor/funder: Wellcome Trust