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Work Experience - Summer 2017

During the summer of 2017, the MBU hosted two work experience events.

For one week in July, two Year 12 students visited individual research groups. They learnt about equipment and scientific techniques such as pipetting gels for analysis under a microscope. At the end of their visit, each student gave a short presentation about their experience.

In August, a similar programme was followed on a one-day visit by three students in Years 11 and 12.

MRC MBU Video Series: "Life at the MRC MBU"

The MBU is pleased to announce that two videos in the series, "Life at the MRC MBU" are now live on our website.

Life at the MRC MBU is aimed at an audience of potential MBU members, whether they be scientists wishing to join our research projects or support staff seeking background information on our activities.  This video showcases the many scientific and social aspects of life in the MBU "family".

Big Bangs Events - Eastern and London

The MRC MBU has participated in two Big Bang events this year.

The first was held on 28 June at Anglia Ruskin University, Chelmsford Campus. We took our "Find My Mutant Fly" game, along with movies and posters explaining the Unit's research. We also took some fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) and used them to demonstrate how mutations in mitochondria might lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and motor neuron disease.

MRC MBU scientists involved in new discovery in the fight against Motor Neurone Disease

A new target to fight Motor Neurone Disease (MND) using gene therapy has been uncovered by neuroscientists at the University of Sheffield, in collaboration with scientists in Cambridge, UCL and Ohio.

Alex Whitworth, leader of the MRC MBU's Mitochondrial Neurodegeneration research group, co-directed this research, which opens up a new field for potential therapies for the most common genetic cause of MND.

The research was funded by the MND Association.

Open Day 2017

On Wednesday, 21 June 2017 the MRC MBU participated in the MRC's Festival of Medical Research and opened its doors to the public for its annual open day.

Our visitors were extremely interested to hear about the causes and effects of mitochondrial diseases, with explanations of the Unit's research towards the discovery and development of therapies.

Some of this research was shown in a practical demonstration, where fluorescent markings were used to observe the behaviour of fruit flies under a microscope.

MBU scientists secure funding for research on Pearson Syndrome

Michal Minczuk, leader of the MRC MBU’s Mitochondrial Genetics research group and his postdoctoral colleague, Payam Gammage, have been awarded $100,000 by The Champ Foundation to carry out research into Pearson Syndrome – a multi-system disease caused by a deletion in mitochondrial DNA.

The funding has been awarded for two years and the research proposal is one of two projects to be selected from a shortlist of five worldwide.

5th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture

On Thursday, 11 May 2017, Professor Rosario Rizzuto delivered the 5th Annual Sir John Walker Lecture, entitled, "The mitochondrial calcium uniporter: molecular identity and physiological role".

Professor Rizzuto is Chancellor (Magnificent Rector) of the University of Padua, Italy, where he is also Professor of General Pathology and Chairman of the Department of Biomedical Sciences.

Recent Primary School Visits

On 14 March 2017, members of the MRC MBU visited Queen Edith’s Primary School to communicate their science to children in years 3 and 4. The activities included practical “bench” sessions and the assembly of protein structures using Lego models.

On 23 March, members of the Unit visited Mayfield Primary School where similar sessions were held with children in the reception classes.

Mike Murphy talks to The Royal Society about the chemical biology of mitochondria

Mike Murphy, Group Leader/PI of the MRC MBU, organised a Royal Society scientific discussion meeting entitled 'Chemical biology approaches to assessing and modulating mitochondria', bringing together biologists, chemists and clinicians to discuss recent developments in the field.

Select talks were subsequently published in an issue of Interface Focus as a record of work to date and as a stimulus to future work. The Royal Society spoke to Mike about his work, the meeting and how the field could progress.

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