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MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit


Stephen Burr













Dr Stephen Burr studied veterinary science at the University of Bristol from 2003-2009, including an intercalated degree in veterinary pathology at the Royal Veterinary College. After working in clinical veterinary practice for three years, he moved to Cambridge in 2012 to begin his doctoral studies in the Department of Clinical Medicine under the supervision of Professor James Nathan. Stephen’s doctoral thesis, titled ‘The Metabolic Regulation of Hypoxia Inducible Factor 1’, identified previously unknown regulators of the HIF1 transcription factor, which is involved in the cellular response to low oxygen levels. Upon completion of his doctorate, Stephen took up his current postdoctoral research associate position in Professor Patrick Chinnery’s group at the Mitochondrial Biology Unit in 2017.

Research Interests

Dr Stephen Burr is currently researching how mutations in the mitochondrial (mt)DNA affect organisms at the single-cell level, with a particular focus on early embryonic development. Using mouse models of mitochondrial disease and cutting-edge single-cell technologies, Stephen is developing methods that allow simultaneous measurement of the mtDNA mutation level and changes in gene expression in individual cells. These techniques have allowed Stephen to begin investigating important questions regarding the inheritance of mtDNA mutations and their impact during embryonic development.

Selected Publications

Burr SP*, Klimm F*, Glynos A*, Prater M*, Sendon P, Nash P, Powell CA, Simard M, Bonekamp NA, Charl J, Diaz H, Bozhilova LV, Nie Y, Zhang H, Frison M, Falkenberg M, Jones N, Minczuk M, Stewart JB, Chinnery PF (2023)
Cell lineage-specific mitochondrial resilience during mammalian organogenesis
Cell 186(6), 1212-1229
*equal contribution

Burr SP, Chinnery PF (2022)
Measuring single-cell mitochondrial DNA copy number and heteroplasmy using digital droplet polymerase chain reaction
JoVE Jul 12;(185)

Burr SP, Pezet M, Chinnery PF (2018)
Mitochondrial DNA heteroplasmy and purifying selection in the mammalian female germline
Development, Growth & Differentiation 60(1): 21-32