Mitochondrial Biochemistry Lab

Where there is life, there is energy. Energy generation and conversion in our body are mainly driven by mitochondria, small cellular organelles often referred to as the powerhouses of the cell. Most of the oxygen from the air we breathe is consumed by mitochondria in the process of energy production called cellular respiration. This energy is used for our body’s vital functions such as heart beating, brain activity, as well as the synthesis of proteins and DNA inside all our cells. A timely and sufficient energy supply is critical for the development and maintenance of highly metabolizing tissues, such as the brain and heart. Energy production in mitochondria would not be possible without oxygen, so lack of oxygen, or hypoxia, can damage cells and tissues. Hypoxia can be caused by many factors including disease, pathology, or trauma, and can occur during surgery or organ transplantation. Usually, hypoxia is followed by restoration of oxygen supply (reoxygenation), which makes the damage greater and in some cases irreversible. Mitochondria are not the only sites of injury during this process, however, they are also mainly responsible for that damage as they form toxic agents known as Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS). We combine our unique expertise in mitochondrial physiology and metabolism, enzymology, molecular biology, and medicine to gain a better knowledge of pathological conditions where mitochondria are involved. We have developed new laboratory assays and approaches to assess the state of the mitochondrial respiratory enzyme and regulation of ROS production in the states of health and disease. Together with our collaborators, we use our knowledge of the structure and function of mitochondrial enzymes to analyze the effect of various pathological conditions on energy metabolism. The main goal of our laboratory is to find new bioenergetic mechanisms behind the changes that occur during human developmental pathologies and to apply this knowledge for the design of novel therapeutic approaches in clinical practice. Alexander Galkin mitochondria

Weill Cornell Medicine Alexander Galkin