Dr Katja Menger

Research Associate


I received my Bsc and Msc in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Oulu, Finland where I developed an initial interest in mitochondrial biology studying mitochondrial fatty acid synthesis. In 2009 I began the studies for a PhD at the MRC MBU in the group of Dr Mike Murphy, investigating the effect of oxidative stress on the fly proteome with a focus on the mitochondrial redox environment. After the completion of my PhD in 2014 I moved on to a Postdoc position in the lab of Prof Robin Ali at the Institute of Ophthalmology, UCL, to investigate the role of mitochondrial oxidative stress in photoreceptor degeneration.

I have since joined the group of Dr Tom Nicholls to elucidate the role of new proteins involved in mitochondrial DNA replication and distribution.

Research Focus

Mitochondrial DNA maintenance, propagation and disease.

Human cells contain several thousand copies of the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) which are packaged into nucleoprotein complexes termed nucleoids. These genomes are replicated throughout the cell cycle, and are found evenly distributed around the dynamic mitochondrial network. At the end of mtDNA replication the genomes must be disentangled and resolved, before then being distributed within the cell. Our work uses molecular, biochemical and cell biology techniques to study these processes in human cells. The aims of this work are: (1) to determine how mtDNA is disentangled following DNA replication; (2) to identify and characterise factors that are required for mtDNA resolution and segregation; and (3) to elucidate the molecular basis of human mitochondrial diseases linked to impaired mtDNA resolution and segregation.

Sponsor/funder: Wellcome Trust


Chouchani ET, James AM, Methner C, Pell VR, Prime TA, Erickson BK, Forkink M, Lau GY, Bright TP, Menger KE, Fearnley IM, Krieg T, Murphy MP. Identification and quantification of protein S-nitrosation by nitrite in the mouse heart during ischemia. J Biol Chem. 2017 Sep 1;292(35):14486-14495

Villacampa P, Menger KE, Abelleira L, Ribeiro J, Duran Y, Smith AJ, Ali RR,

Luhmann UF, Bainbridge JWB. Accelerated oxygen-induced retinopathy is a reliable model of ischemia-induced retinal neovascularization. PLoS One. 2017 Jun 26;12(6) e:0179759

Menger KE, James AM, Cochemé HM, Harbour ME, Chouchani ET, Ding S, Fearnley IM, Partridge L, Murphy MP. Fasting, but Not Aging, Dramatically Alters the Redox Status of Cysteine Residues on Proteins in Drosophila melanogaster. Cell Rep. 2015 Nov 10;13(6):1285.

Suomi F, Menger KE, Monteuuis G, Naumann U, Kursu VA, Shvetsova A, Kastaniotis AJ. Expression and evolution of the non-canonically translated yeast mitochondrial acetyl-CoA carboxylase Hfa1p. PLoS One. 2014 Dec 11;9(12):e114738.

Pun PB, Logan A, Darley-Usmar V, Chacko B, Johnson MS, Huang GW, Rogatti S, Prime TA, Methner C, Krieg T, Fearnley IM, Larsen L, Larsen DS, Menger KE, Collins Y, James AM, Kumar GD, Hartley RC, Smith RA, Murphy MP. A mitochondria-targeted mass spectrometry probe to detect glyoxals: implications for diabetes. Free Radic Biol Med. 2014 Feb;67:437-50.

Collins Y, Chouchani ET, James AM, Menger KE, Cochemé HM, Murphy MP. Mitochondrial redox signalling at a glance. J Cell Sci. 2012 Feb 15;125(Pt 4):801-6.

Requejo R, Chouchani ET, Hurd TR, Menger KE, Hampton MB, Murphy MP. Measuring mitochondrial protein thiol redox state. Methods Enzymol. 2010;474:123-47.