The mitochondria is a fascinating organelle to be studying. Our current understanding about its variety of functions is evolving, and it is now being recognized as a hub in coordinating a multitude of responses in a cell and tissue dependent manner. I am keen to remain studying the mitochondria, and help unravel its function in order to improve our understanding of its basic biology as well as harnessing this information to inform treatments for diseases where mitochondrial dysfunction is a prominent hallmark.
For my doctoral research I was part of a collaborative graduate program, where I had two supervisors - Dr. Breandán Kennedy in UCD (Dublin, Ireland) and Dr. Anand Swaroop at the NEI (Bethesda, MD). We were interested in identifying factors important for cone photoreceptor function. We used NGS to identify factors enriched in these cells from both Zebrafish and Mouse. We discovered a novel mitochondrial protein, ES1, which I continuing to characterize in my postdoctoral fellowship at the NIH.
My research has allowed me to use a variety of techniques to fully investigate this interesting protein. Using biochemical studies in primary cell lines from CRISPR knock-out and knock-in murine models in combination with metabolomics and proteomics, we are gaining insights into what this mitochondrial protein is doing.