Novel Diagnostic Approaches for Genetic and Environmental Sources of Mitochondrial Dysfunction

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Virginia Tech


With cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and neurodegenerative conditions on the rise, understanding their pathogenesis is paramount to tackling this public health crisis. Current research indicates that the primary cause of these diseases is mitochondrial dysfunction in the affected patients. While genetics plays a role in these conditions, lifestyle choices and exposure to toxins also significantly contribute to their development. Unfortunately, early-stage diagnosis can be difficult due to overlapping symptoms with other diseases. Developing innovative therapies that can prevent or reverse the deterioration of metabolic dysfunctions is critical to establishing early intervention. My research focused on investigating molecular targets linked with Friedrich's Ataxia, an inherited metabolic disorder, through conducting functional in-vitro studies using human-derived cell samples, as well as developing inventive animal models created via Xenopus laevis tadpoles to evaluate the effects of environmental stressors. My investigations have uncovered promising treatment options that improve mitochondrial function, mitigate oxidative stress, and elucidate critical mechanisms involved in environmentally induced disruptions to mitochondria.



mitochondria, metabolic diseases, Friedreich's ataxia, environmental toxins, developmental, Triclosan, treatments