MDA has awarded a development grant totaling $180,000 over three years to Edward Owusu-Ansah, a postdoctoral fellow in the department of genetics at Harvard Medical School in Boston. The funds will help support Owusu-Ansah's research into the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial myopathies.
A system consisting of five large protein complexes, known as the functional oxidative phosphorylation system, or OXPHOS, plays a crucial role in the generation of energy (ATP) in the cellular power factories known as mitochondria. Disruption of this system results in the compromise of a range of biochemical and metabolic activities in cells, resulting in mitochondrial myopathy.
In a fruit fly research model Owusu-Ansah plans to examine the intracellular signaling that contributes to mitochondrial myopathy, particularly with regard to one of the five larger protein complexes that is part of the OXPHOS system.
"Due to the extensive similarity between fruit fly and human genomes," Owusu-Ansah said, "I anticipate that information obtained from this study should uncover novel therapeutic strategies for alleviating mitochondrial myopathy in humans."
Funding for this MDA grant began August 1, 2011.