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Quality Control of the Mitochondrial Gene Expression System in Health and Disease

Mitochondria produce most of the energy the body acquires through food, and are thus pivotal players in cellular metabolism. Central to mitochondrial biology is the DNA in the organelle (mtDNA): its maintenance, correct RNA processing, and efficient translation are all essential and must be coordinated to ensure proper mitochondrial function and cellular physiology. Defective maintenance or expression of mtDNA alters energy and nutrient metabolism, which are increasingly recognized to impact medical disciplines, ranging from hundreds of genetic disorders to neurodegeneration, immunology, transmissible disease, cancer and ageing. A deep understanding of the mitochondrial gene expression system and new methods are urgently needed to develop treatments for the full panoply of mitochondrial disorders that feature mtDNA perturbation.

MITGEST will unite world-class academic excellence in mtDNA maintenance and expression with private sector expertise in nucleic acid chemistry and the development of mitochondrial therapeutics to address this urgent need. As the first research training programme in this field to take a fully integrated approach, the project’s 10 doctoral candidates (DC) will elucidate how mtDNA is maintained and expressed and support the development of new methods to analyse RNA and DNA metabolism in mitochondria. These advances will complement and facilitate/enhance innovative treatment strategies and experimental medicine studies designed to mitigate mitochondrial dysfunction in a range of human diseases.

MITGEST’s network of 8 beneficiaries and 11 associated partners from 8 European countries and Israel builds on proven collaborations and establishes new partnerships to deliver intersectoral and multidisciplinary scientific and transferable skills training to the 10 PhD students to generate the next generation of highly-skilled scientists able to exploit the latest advances in mitochondrial biology and medicine.

Università degli Studi di Udine, IT


Funded Project

Duration01.02.2014 – 31.01.2017
Budget3.2 million euro

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My passion is to work with highly skilled scientists and innovative thinkers from industry and academia to build solutions for a sustainable future.

Dr. Jeanette Müller