I completed my undergraduate study at Anhui Medical University with an upper second class MBBS degree, including a year’s internship in No.1 affiliated hospital of Anhui Medical University. I then continued my postgraduate study in Newcastle University, obtaining an upper second class MRes degree. Now as a PhD student in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, I am going to progress into my 3rd year.

Research Project

Investigating the mechanism underlying selective pressures on mtDNA mutations in stem cells.

Principal Investigators: Professor Doug Turnbull and Dr Laura Greaves

Project Details

MtDNA mutations can accumulate somatically in colonic stem cell populations in normal humans during ageing, with no evidence showing any selective pressures on these somatic mtDNA mutations. In contrast, in patients with inherited mtDNA mutations, the level of the mutation decreases over time in patients’ blood, suggesting that there could be a selection against the inherited mtDNA mutations in patients’ blood. My project aims to: 1. Confirm the selection against the inherited mtDNA mutations in gastrointestinal stem cell populations in patients. 2. Characterise a new mouse model with mitochondrial disorders and see whether the selection against the inherited mtDNA mutations in these mice shares the same features with that in humans. 3. Use the mouse model to understand the mechanism underlying the differences in selective pressures between inherited and somatic mtDNA mutations.

Sponsor/Funder: Newcastle University


Wakeling, Luisa A., Laura J. Ions, Suzanne M. Escolme, Simon J. Cockell, Tianhong Su, Madhurima Dey, Emily V. Hampton et al. “SIRT1 affects DNA methylation of polycomb group protein target genes, a hotspot of the epigenetic shift observed in ageing.” Human genomics 9, no. 1 (2015): 1.