Research Opportunity: Dissecting the molecular, cellular and physiological mechanisms of neuronal death in mitochondrial disease

Con­tact Name: Albert Quintana

Con­tact Email: albertq[at]

Depart­ment: Pediatrics/Seattle Children’s Research Institute


Every single cell in our body requires energy to survive. Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell. Accordingly, mutations in the mitochondrial machinery involved in energy generation lead to a group of progressive, untreatable and usually fatal pathologies affecting 1:500 births.

High-energy consuming organs, such as the brain are usually affected. However, there is a high degree of specificity in the type of neurons affected and it is not currently known what drives some neurons to survive (or to die) when faced with a mitochondrial mutation.

Our lab uses a mouse model of mitochondrial disease that recapitulates the human pathology. Our goal is to use different tools (mouse genetics, molecular biology, pharmacology, optogenetics) to identify the mechanisms driving neuronal fate in the context of mitochondrial disease. If we can identify the genes and factors altered in affected neurons, we could propose potential treatments for mitochondrial disease.

Interested students will participate in all aspects of research (from animal husbandry to performing the experiments), will expose and discuss their results and be active part of any potential publications.

This project could provide a great opportunity to gain experience in a research setting.


Basic knowledge in Neurobiology
Basic knowledge in Molecular Biology
Willingness to work with animal models (mice)
Willingness to commute to Seattle Children’s Research Institute (9th Ave and Stewart)
Prior lab experience is a plus
15-18 hours/week

View this post­ing in the database