I am a first year PhD student working within the mitochondrial research group to study the mechanism of clonal expansion of mutated mtDNA within ageing tissue. My project incorporates both computational and experimental techniques. My supervisors are Professor Doug Turnbull and Dr Laura Greaves. I also work alongside members of the IAH in silico group who support me with the computational side of my project, in particular, Dr Anze Zupanic. I have always had an interest in research and since learning about mitochondria from my degree, I have always wanted to be involved in mitochondrial research.
Investigating the mechanism of clonal expansion of mitochondrial DNA mutations in human ageing
Principal Investigators: Professor Doug Turnbull and Dr Laura Greaves
Clonal expansion describes the process by which mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) mutations spread throughout a tissue. Within humans, mtDNA mutations impact on a tissues ability to function and have been known to contribute to cancer development . Therefore, it is of vital importance that the process of clonal expansion be understood.
A model tissue that can be used to investigate this is the epithelium of the colon. This tissue contains Lgr5+ stem cells that are contained at the base of crypts. Individual crypts drift towards mono-clonality over time due to them containing multiple stem cells. This makes it an ideal tissue to model the spread of mtDNA mutations over time.
The aim of this project is to use computational modelling of the colonic epithelium to understand the mechanism of clonal expansion with age.