Shane Bell


I graduated Newcastle University with a BSc in Pharmacology, followed by an MRes in Neuroscience. I became interested in the molecular aspects of mitochondria, their role in disease and how we can treat mitochondrial disease pharmacologically, during the last year of my undergraduate degree.

Research Focus

Investigating the effect of mitophagy on mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy and its potential for treating mitochondrial disease

Mitophagy is the selective degradation of mitochondria in response to mitochondrial damage and stress, as well as quality control. I’m looking into the mechanism of mitophagy and how upregulation of this process can affect mtDNA heteroplasmy using a developed induced-pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) line derived from a patient with a single, large scale deletion of mtDNA.

The main aims of my project are:

a) To elucidate whether upregulation of mitophagy by pharmacological agents can facilitate the clearance of dysfunctional mitochondria with mutated mtDNA, leading to a healthier cell.

b) Gain insight into the complex nature of mitophagy (in both iPSCs and iPSC-derived neurons)

c) Screen compounds that are able to induce mitophagy and test their effectiveness

Sponsor/Funder: Wellcome Trust