Alejandro Rodríguez-Luis

Ph.D. Student


I completed a BSc in Biomedical Sciences with honours in Neuroscience at The University of Edinburgh. During my undergraduate degree I became fascinated by the role of mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases and cancer. During this time, I also became very interested in the function of DNA in cells, as well as the molecular processes which lead to its maintenance and repair. My PhD project at the Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research is allowing me to explore these interests further

Research Focus

Elucidating the molecular mechanism of mitochondrial DNA replication termination

There are thousands of copies of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) within the mitochondria of every nucleated cell of our body. Cells generate new copies of this genome by the process of DNA replication, which serves to maintain mtDNA copy number during cell division and when damaged mtDNA molecules are targeted for degradation. At the end of mtDNA replication, the replicated daughter molecules remain interlinked and require a protein called TOP3A to disentangle or ‘decatenate’ them. Variants in TOP3A can cause mitochondrial disease.

My project aims are:

  1. To elucidate the molecular mechanism by which TOP3A decatenates mtDNA molecules after replication.
  1. To develop novel in vitro tools that can be used to characterise the activity of purified TOP3A, as well as to model the effect of pathological variants found in patients with mitochondrial disease.