2020-21 Academic Calendar (PDF)
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Dissertation Title: The Shape of Metabolism: Mitochondrial Dynamics, Remodeling, and Bioenergetic Reprogramming in Disease
Mitochondria are dynamic, double-membrane bound hubs of bioenergetics, cell signaling, and redox balance that exist as an oscillating network of fused superstructures and smaller, single organelles. Importantly, their position at the junction of catabolic and anabolic metabolism connects these morphological fluctuations to larger cellular metabolic programs, which in turn have implicated mitochondrial dynamics in a number of disease states and a varied set of cell phenomena. For example, differentiation of memory t-cells is dependent on mitochondrial network morphology, and in particular on remodeling dynamics that yield fused mitochondrial assemblies favoring oxidative phosphorylation-driven metabolism. In contrast, many cancers have been shown to de-emphasize mitochondrial fusion processes through enhanced fission action, which has been theorized to be associated with the glycolytic hallmarks of cancer proliferation and progression. This dissertation elucidates the diversity of roles mitochondrial dynamics and bioenergetics play in defining molecular metabolic schemes across many normal and abnormal physiologies, and underscores the importance of the original research we have produced within the immunological, oncological, and hepatic domains. In particular, the through-lines of our findings on mitochondrial plasticity and remodeling in cancer chemotherapy survival mechanisms, t-cell fate, obesity, and hepatocyte injury will be discussed and explored in-depth from an integrated and translational perspective
Date: Thursday, July 23, 2020
Time: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.