Cambridge Science Festival 2019

On Sunday, 24 March 2019 eleven members of the MRC MBU represented the Unit at the Cambridge Science Festival.

Discovering the mechanism of energy production in mitochondria

Mitochondria are the powerhouses of our cells because their main function is metabolic energy conversion using the enzymes in the electron transport chain and the ATP synthase. Dysfunction in this system is the cause of the most frequent inborn errors of metabolism. Using hands-on models, members of the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit demonstrated the physical-chemical properties of the mitochondrial electron chain in healthy and disease conditions. In this way, they showcased the basis of their research towards discovering the causes of mitochondrial disease in the quest for therapies in the future.

We launched two new games and one fluorescent light microscopy demonstration:

Destroying Mutant Mitochondrial DNA - aimed at destroying mutant mitochondrial DNA by fishing it out of the mitochondrion and placing it in the mtDNA dustbin.

Electron Transport Pinball – to demonstrate energy conversion through the electron transport chain.

Fluorescent Light Microscopy – we used a fluorescent light microscope to show images of mitochondria. This was housed in our portable dark room.

We also showed a range of posters, using them to explain the scientific background to these activities.

We all had a great time and we look forward to doing it all again next year!