I work on factors involved in mitochondrial gene expression. Professor Robert Lightowlers and Professor Zofia Chrzanowska-Lightowlers are my supervisors. I am a basic scientist and study mitochondrial biology at a molecular level. I chose to work in the mitochondrial field because there are many basic functions that remain unknown and many mitochondrial proteins that have functions that are yet to be identified.
My work focuses on identifying novel mitochondrial proteins and trying to ascertain their function within the organelle. More specifically my work focuses on nuclear-encoded proteins that affect mitochondrial gene expression.
Mitochondria contain their own genome (mtDNA), which encodes 13 proteins. All proteins encoded by mtDNA form part of the oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) system. Therefore, mutations in any of the nuclear genes required for expression of mtDNA can lead to OXPHOS defects and mitochondrial disease.
Many of the proteins involved in mtDNA expression are yet to be identified or have their function determined. There are also many patients with mitochondrial disease, but the underlying genetic defect remains unknown.
By studying mitochondria at a molecular level we can identify new proteins involved in mitochondrial gene expression and better understand mitochondrial biology.
Sponsor: Medical Research Council/LLHW
Collaborators: Dr Jorge Oliveira (University of Porto)