Wellcome Trust Centre For Mitochondrial Research

Dr Katarzyna Swist-Szulik



I am a Consultant in Paediatric Intensive Care and joined the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research in 2012 with an aim to study the role of mitochondrial dysfunction in children with multi-organ failure.

I am conducting a pilot study investigating mitochondrial haplogroups in a cohort of children requiring a bone marrow transplant. This has yielded preliminary data to inform my PhD project. This project is funded by the Paediatric Intensive Care Society Research Awards (2012) and supervised by Prof Rob Taylor and Dr Robert McFarland.

Research Project

Mitochondrial function in children requiring bone marrow transplantation

Principal Investigators: Dr Robert McFarland and Professor Rob Taylor
Other staff members involved: Dr Rachel Agbeko

“A subset of children undergoing bone marrow transplantation develop irreversible mitochondrial dysfunction leading to multi-organ dysfunction and death.”

The inexorable clinical decline, with multisystem organ failure, observed in a significant proportion of patients undergoing bone marrow transplant (BMT) is well documented, but remains largely unexplained. I suspect that the multisystem failure observed in some post BMT children is a direct consequence of irreversible mitochondrial dysfunction. The pilot study to investigate this hypothesis will provide the initial data to support a more extensive study of mitochondrial dysfunction in a larger cohort of children with multisystem failure in the PICU setting. This study will form the basis of my PhD thesis. I am also very interested to investigate the possibility of predicting the extent and severity of mitochondrial dysfunction following manipulation of specific physiological parameters. To address this question I shall devise and validate a computational model of mitochondrial function that will allow me to simulate and manipulate ‘in vivo’ conditions. This computational modelling technique will allow me to safely explore a wide range of influences on mitochondrial function that may have direct relevance to clinical interventions in the pre-transplant or intensive care setting.


Part funded by the Paediatric Intensive Care Society