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Mitochondrial adaptations to environmental change

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Summary

Mitochondria are the vital energy 'powerhouse' of cells. Accordingly, all animals rely on tight control of mitochondrial function, yet surprisingly little is known about how mitochondrial adaptations enable animals to thrive in different and harsh environments. We will work on animal species with different physiological adaptations to understand how mitochondrial function 1) is regulated in fish when O2 is not available, 2) supports tolerance to extreme temperatures in insects, and 3) changes in response to digestion and long term food deprivation in snakes. 

These fundamental mitochondrial adaptations are important determinants of animal distributions, but the biochemical mechanisms to be uncovered will also provide novel insights into diseases like heart ischemia, stroke and diabetes.