Kashatus Lab Research Goals
Welcome to the Kashatus Lab. We are in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Cancer Biology at the University of Virginia. Our lab is interested in the regulation of mitochondrial dynamics and how alterations in mitochondrial fission and fusion affect basic cellular physiology.
Mitochondria are often pictured in biology texts as static, individual organelles, when in reality they form highly dynamic and mobile networks constantly undergoing fusion and fission. Research in the last decade has revealed that mitochondrial fusion and fission impact nearly every aspect of mitochondrial function, from cellular metabolism, to calcium homeostasis, to the control of cell survival through apoptosis and autophagy.
In addition, failure to properly maintain this dynamic mitochondrial network has been shown to play a role in a number of diseases, including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and cancer.
The goals of our research are: (1) to uncover the molecular mechanisms that directly control mitochondrial dynamics, (2) to identify and characterize signaling pathways that interact with the mitochondrial dynamics machinery and (3) to determine how these interactions impact the pathology of diseases such as cancer.