THE MITOCHONDRIAL RESEARCH HUB
Mito hub committee: Ophry Pines (Coordinator), Haya Lorberboum-Galski, Ann Saada-Reich, Joseph Shlomai. Adjunct members on specific topics include Ronit Sharon, Hovav Nechushtan and Orly Elpeleg.
Mitochondria are organelles of eukaryotic organisms that are not only essential for respiration but are also essential for supplying precursors of central metabolism. Mitochondria also play a pivotal role of in the processes such as programmed cell death during normal development, as well as in propagation of diseases. The hub (“Moked”) set out with the aim of bringing together scientists of basic and medical research from different disciplines to discuss and perform research of the major topics of interest thereby encouraging formation of interdisciplinary collaborations and larger team efforts. It was and is our intention to accumulate and display theoretical knowledge and experimental approaches as a support for members of the hub.
It was exhilarating when we realized that a significant number of groups at the Hebrew University Medical School and Hadassah Hebrew University Medical Center are involved in mitochondrial research. Our hub mailing list of students, researchers, physicians and faculty in Ein-Karem, which have an interest in mitochondrial research, has reached a count of more than a hundred. The following are activities of our hub:
1) Our seminar during recent years includes lectures which were delivered by Ein Karem campus faculty members and Israeli scientists from other institutions.
2) The above seminar alternates once a month with our journal club delivered by our PhD students. At each meeting two students present two separate papers.
3) The graduate course #94864 entitled “Mitochondria: Molecular, Metabolic and Medical Perspectives” was created (lectures are given by five PI hub members).
4) We have organized three hub retreats which are mini-symposiums. The first introductory symposium included 13 PIs from our Ein Karem campus, the second was on the topic of “Cancer, Metabolism and Mitochondria” and the third was on the topic of “Mitochondria, Dynamics & Neurodegenerative Diseases”.
5) Between the 21st and 24th of November 2010, an international meeting entitled “Mitochondria: Function and Dysfunction” including 24 foreign and 18 Israeli speakers took place at the Dead Sea (Chaired by the hub coordinator, lectures by hub members).
6) The Mitochondrial hub participated in the purchase of equipment such as the Seahorse Bioscience XF24 Analyzer and supported travel stipends for participation of HUJI Ein Karem campus PhD students in international conferences abroad.
Future activities will include in addition to the above activities i) Application for joint funding and submission mitochondrial related grant proposals (as done in the past) and ii) Assembly of joint mitochondrial related proteomic and genomic databases and web sites specifying detailed mitochondrial experimental approaches.