The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
McGovern Medical School
Department of Integrative Biology and Pharmacology
Mitochondria are powerhouses of the cell. Mitochondria generate energy by burning nutrients in the presence of oxygen. Besides producing the energy for cell survival, mitochondria are involved in many other cellular processes such as signaling, cell death, and growth. Over the past years, increasing pieces of evidence have associated mitochondrial dysfunctions with aging and age-related diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and Huntington’s disease.
Activation of unfolded protein stress response can restore the protein homeostasis in such diseases. Our laboratory is interested in understanding the role of cross-compartmental communication between stress responses on the metabolic state of cells during pathological conditions. We utilize a powerful genetic model system -- C. elegans -- to study the basic biology of highly conserved compartment-specific stress responses with a specific emphasis on the mitochondrial stress response. For example, we have discovered how mitochondrial stress responses propagate a cascade of signals to improve protein homeostasis and disease pathology in the cytosol of the cell by altering lipid metabolism.
Our research focuses on the communication of mitochondrial stress response with other parts of the cell in various stress and disease states. Our goal is to contribute to the treatment of protein misfolding diseases such as neurodegenerative diseases, sporadic and hereditary inclusion body myositis, and age-onset cardiovascular diseases.
During the tutorial, students will learn to understand and utilize biochemical tools, cell biology, and genetic analyses in C. elegans and mammalian cell culture systems.
Education & Training
Ph.D., The University of Texas Southwestern, 2006