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Often referred to as the “Powerhouse” of the cell, mitochondria are often recognized as the main generator of cellular energy. However, mitochondria possess other essential functions beyond the production of energy including the regulation of programmed cell death and organismal aging. Not surprisingly, mitochondrial dysfunction is often correlated with various diseases including neurodegenerative disorders and cancer.

Our lab studies how cells resolve mitochondrial dysfunction in order to achieve homeostasis. One mechanism to alleviate dysfunction to the mitochondria is through activation of the mitochondrial unfolded protein response (UPRmt). We employ the simple but powerful genetic model system Caenorhabditis elegans and mammalian cell culture as a combined approach in the study of the UPRmt.