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Big Biology Day 2019

Great fun was had on Saturday, 5 October when members of the MBU took various activities to Hills Road Sixth Form College for Big Biology Day 2019.

The event was attended by visitors of all ages, who tried out our new Mito-gami activity, along with our "Destroying Mutant Mitochondrial DNA" game and mtDNA sequencing puzzles.

There was much conversation about the science and career options ... and a quiet corner for colouring.




Reaching out to Lowestoft and Beccles

On 18 and 19 September 2019, Dr Martin King visited three schools and a sixth form college in Suffolk, giving a 'masterclass' on mitochondrial biology, an overview of life at university (and Cambridge!) and helping with university interview techniques.

This tour was arranged in collaboration with Kathryn Singleton, School Liaison Officer at St Catharine's College, Cambridge - the College that Martin joined when he arrived in Cambridge.

The feedback questionnaires are currently under analysis - at first glance it looks as though Martin did a great job!


Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week

This week, 15-21 September 2019, is Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week.

Around the world Global Mitochondrial Disease Awareness Week (GMDAW) will be marked with educational, fundraising and advocacy efforts designed to raise awareness about mitochondrial disease (mito).

The MBU's website will follow a green theme for the duration of this week.

We have also been "baking it green"! ...with a small prize - this year's winner is Jennifer.

Development of an alternative mtDNA mutator model for APOBEC1

Stochastic mutations in the mitochondrial genome (mtDNA) have been linked to many diseases, and their accumulation has been proposed to act as a driving force in the ageing process itself. For the past 15 years the main animal model used to study this phenomenon has been the ‘mutator’ mouse, harbouring a proofreading defective mtDNA polymerase (POLG). These models accumulate high levels of mtDNA point mutations, but also large and small deletions and mtDNA depletion, causing progeroid (accelerated ageing) phenotypes.

Structure of F1-ATPase from the obligate anaerobe Fusobacterium nucleatum

Adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the fuel of life, is produced by a molecular machine consisting of two motors linked by a rotor. One generates rotation by consuming energy derived from oxidative metabolism or photosynthesis; the other uses energy transmitted by the rotor to make ATP from adenosine diphosphate and phosphate. In many species, the machine is reversible, and various mechanisms regulate reversal.

Permeability transition in mitochondria

Mitochondria generate the cellular fuel, adenosine triphosphate, or ATP, to sustain complex life. Production of ATP depends on the oxidation of energy rich compounds to produce a chemical potential difference for hydrogen ions (or proton motive force, pmf), across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM).

Disruption of the IMM, dissipation of the pmf and cell death occur if the total concentration of calcium inside mitochondria is elevated sufficiently to open a pore in the IMM. It has been proposed that the pore is in the membrane sector of the ATP synthase.

Tenured Professorship for Edmund Kunji

The General Board of the Faculties of the University of Cambridge has recommended that, with effect from 1 October 2019, a Professorship be established for Dr Edmund Kunji (assigned to the Department of Clinical Neurosciences).


David Sabatini MD PhD delivers the 7th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture

The 7th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, ‘Regulation of Growth and Metabolism’, was delivered on Thursday, 30 May 2019, by David Sabatini, MD, PhD.

Professor Sabatini is a member of the Whitehead Institute and Professor of Biology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). He studies the pathways that regulate growth and metabolism and how they are deregulated in diseases like cancer and diabetes.


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