Meet the group members of the MitoSTaRs Lab.
Uwe Richter

I am a Berlin-bred scientist, who has been working around the world from Berlin, Edinburgh (UK), Ithaca (USA), Perth (Australia) to Helsinki (Finland). As a child from behind the Iron Curtain, I dreamt myself to the stars by watching Blade Runner, Star Wars, and Star Trek. In hindsight, no wonder I started to study biology and specifically midi-chlorians, I mean mitochondria, of course. Mitochondria are the energy-generating organelles of our cells, or as Jedi master Qui-Gon put it “…are microscopic life-forms that reside within the cells of all living things and communicate with the force.”

In my research I have identified a gene expression quality control process that is fighting bad protein production inside mitochondria. In future work, I would like to capitalize on that finding and determine the key factors involved in the process. Secondly, I will study how the rest of the cell responds to bad protein production in the tiny organelle. We suspect such understanding is key to develop pharmacological treatments for mitochondrial gene expression disease in patients who have no treatment option to date. To once more quote Qui-Gon: “When you learn to quiet your mind, you will hear them speaking to you.” My group will endeavor to understand how stressed mitochondria speak to us, aiming to improve the life of patients with mitochondrial disease. May the force be with us.

Uwe Richter's research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Omid Safronov

I am a PhD candidate, who is about to defend his doctoral dissertation soon, and currently occupying a post-doctoral seat in MitoSTaRs group. I am a bioinformatician, but I own a lab coat as well. I am very interested to answer the questions surrounding the topics such as population genetic, omics data analysis, and natural products in plants and fungi. Human and animal sciences are new for me, which I am trying to understand.

Mitochondria is the powerhouse of every living cells, and irregularities in mitochondrial gene expression have been linked to different illnesses. Here in MitoSTaRs group we would like to understand the mitochondrial responses to stress in control conditions, as well as patient materials, and how these responses translated to communication signals, which can be recognized by different cellular components. To this end, we use the benefits of multiple omics data analysis which gives us multiple angles to tackle complex questions.

Omid Safro­nov's research profile in the University of Helsinki People Finder

Ana Andjelkovic

I am postdoctoral researcher investigating how modified mitochondrial translation impacts health and disease. I use cell culture as model system and combined bioinformatics and experimental approaches including drug treatments, flow cytometry, Western Blotting, ATAC-sequencing, polysome profiling and STED nanosopy to address questions of interest.

Michael Bull

I have a lifelong interest in biology. I completed my Bachelor's degree at the University of Derby. While studying for my Master's degree at Newcastle University, I gravitated (with absolutely no influence from Star Wars whatsoever) towards mitochondrial research, since the mitochondrion sits at the intersection between fields as diverse as immunology, oncology, and neurology. I am now working as a research assistant investigating mitoribosomal disorders at University of Helsinki in Finland.