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Mitochondria are microscopic, energy producing machines that are found in all human cells. Mitochondria are essential for the normal function and survival of all eukaryotic cells. Mitochondria contain a small set of genes that must work properly to make the energy our bodies require for health. Given their central role in providing energy for cells it is not surprising that mitochondrial dysfunction is involved in neurodegenerative disorders, diabetes, and cancer. Despite their importance the regulation of gene expression in mammalian mitochondria remains poorly understood. Defects in the expression of mitochondrial genes cause debilitating diseases for which there are no cures currently.

Our team investigates RNA-binding proteins that regulate the stability, expression and translation of mitochondrial genes. We investigate the genetic causes of diseases caused by mitochondrial dysfunction and analyse the molecular mechanisms that cause pathology in the diseases. As well as unravelling the mysteries of mitochondrial genetics and biology we are interested in the development of gene therapy approaches and therapeutics to combat mitochondrial dysfunction in disease.


Molecular machines stop cancer’s clock

Head of the laboratory for Synthetic Biology and Drug Discovery, Associate Professor Oliver Rackham, says cancer cells grow uncontrollably whereas normal cells limit their growth. “A normal cell grows for just the right amount of time that is required for us to develop and maintain our bodies. “They control their growth with…

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Stem cell reprogramming mystery clarified by new findings

In a study, published in Cell Stem Cell, researchers from the University of Western Australia, the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, and Monash University describe key drivers of the process by which cells from mature tissues of the body, such as skin, can be deliberately converted into stem cells that…

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