Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

Mariana Rocha


MariannaI am a PhD student in the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research under the supervision of Professor Doug Turnbull and Dr Karolina Rygiel.

The aim of my research project is to explore the changes that occur in the skeletal muscle during ageing, the underlying mechanisms and potential therapeutic interventions.

The research that I completed as part of my Masters degree in Neuroscience prompted  my interest in the role of mitochondria in the ageing neuromuscular system. This led me to apply for a PhD position in the Mitochondrial Research Group.

Research Project

Sarcopenia and age-related disorders

Principal Investigator: Professor Doug Turnbull
Other staff members involved: Dr Karolina Rygiel

Project Details

Sarcopenia relates to the gradual loss of skeletal muscle mass occurring during normal ageing. This process is responsible for a decline in both muscle strength and physical performance, and ultimately, to an impaired mobility, disability and loss of independence.

Sporadic inclusion body myositis (IBM) is the most common myopathy acquired in patients over the age of 50. This condition is characterised by a progressive muscular weakness and atrophy of the distal and proximal limb muscles, and ageing seems to be an important risk factor. Both sarcopenia and IBM present a great impact on the quality of life and have major costs in terms of health care, increasing the need to explore the biology of aging skeletal muscle in health and disease.

The  research project aims to:

1) investigate the changes occurring in the skeletal muscle during aging and age related-myopathy
2) explore the underlying mechanisms
3) find therapeutic targets to reverse or slow down the age-related changes in skeletal muscle

Email: m.rocha@ncl.ac.uk
Collaborators: Dr Grainne Gorman and Dr Karolina Rygiel