Mitochondria have been known as the cellular power plant, reflecting their major role in ATP synthesis. The metabolic roles of mitochondria have been the major focus of research in this organelle during the last century. However, in the last two decades, mitochondria were found to affect cellular signaling with impacts in processes such as cell death, calcium homeostasis and autophagy. The signals used by mitochondria to communicate with signaling pathways are now an area of intense research.
The main focus of our work is to understand how mitochondria communicate with the rest of the cell. Furthermore, we seek to determine how the signaling pathways regulated by mitochondria mediate pathology in patients with mitochondrial diseases.
The two major lines of research in the lab are the communication between mitochondrial and other cellular organelles, and the signaling roles of metabolites.
We employ a combination of systems biology (multi-dimensional genomics, see figure; Raimundo et al., 2012, Cell) with advanced imaging and a wide range of cell biology and biochemical methods.
While we focus on basic research, we also use the disease situations to inform the physiological mechanisms, and to identify molecular targets for therapies.
Our work has implications for inherited metabolic diseases, neurodegeneration, cancer and type II diabetes.