The wheels are running!

Wow! what a busy time this past year has been!

Many (good) things and (good) news to explain! New members, new papers, exciting science… here you are a picture of the lab just before summer break!

quintanalab 2017

First of all, we are glad to announce three! new additions to the lab: Kelsey, Fabien and Patrizia. (disclaimer: they have already been with us for some months, but hey, I told you we have been really busy!)

Kelsey Montgomery has re-joined the lab as a part-time research technician/MSc student (Bioinformatics). She graduated (BSc. Genetics) from the University of Georgia (2013) and worked at Seattle Genetics (2013-2015) before joining the Quintana lab in Seattle (2015). We are excited to have her with us again on the other side of the pond!

Fabien Menardy (aka Fab) has joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow and is our resident optogenetics/in vivo electrophysiology expert. Fabien graduated (PhD Neurosciences) from the University of Paris Sud (2012) under the supervision of Dr. Catherine del Negro, where he worked on elucidating neural responses involved in zebra finch vocal communication signaling. After obtaining his PhD, he joined the lab of Dr. Daniela Popa and Dr. Clément Lena, at the École Normal Supérieure, Institut de Biologie (Paris), as a postdoctoral researcher (2013-2016) where he focused on understanding the role of the cerebellum in Parkinson’s Disease. He is now interested in understanding the electrophysiological alterations (and their implications in circuit signal processing) in neurons with mitochondrial dysfunction. 

Patrizia Bianchi joined the lab as a postdoctoral fellow and is an expert in mitochondrial dynamics. Patrizia graduated (PhD Biomedicine) from the Universitat de Barcelona (2016) under the supervision of Dr. Aurora Pujol (IDIBELL), where she worked on elucidated the alterations in mitochondrial dynamics in X-linked adrenoleukodystrophy. She is now focusing on characterizing the underlying deficits in mitochondrial dynamics in animal models of Leigh Syndrome.

We are glad to have such talented scientists in the lab!

Last, but not least, and even though there will be other posts providing brief summaries, we are glad to have had two articles recently accepted! Hooray!

Here you are the links, for those interested:

Striatal GPR88 modulates foraging efficiency (Journal of Neuroscience)

Loss of mitochondrial Ndufs4 in striatal medium spiny neurons mediates progressive motor impairment in a mouse model of Leigh Syndrome (Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience). OPEN ACCESS

Will keep you updated!!

 

The lab keeps growing!

Some good news in the lab!

We are extremely happy to welcome our new technician,  Andrea Urpí. andrea

Andrea graduated in 2014 (Biochemistry) from the Universitat  de Barcelona (UB) and obtained a Masters in Clinical Analyses  from the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona – UPF in 2015.

Andrea is joining the lab as a research technician but she is also testing to waters to see  which scientific career she pursues… Needless to say, we are pretty sure that it will be a successful one!

We are really excited to have her in the lab!

Welcome!!

Research: Altered protein modifications in mitochondrial disease

Our latest paper is out!

In collaboration with the Frizzell lab at the University of South Carolina we have published the article titled:

Succination is increased on select proteins in the brainstem of the Ndufs4 knockout mouse, a model of Leigh syndrome.” 

in the journal Molecular and Cellular Proteomics.

In this paper, we have been able to identify that the metabolic deficits mediated by mitochondrial dysfunction (we used our Leigh Syndrome mice for this study) lead to permanent modifications in discrete proteins in affected neurons.

These modifications (called succination) have been shown to impair the activity of proteins in other studies, therefore we believe these mitochondrial proteins will also lose function in our model. Interestingly, our study shows that these modifications are only observed in cells residing in areas affected by the pathology, further enhancing the idea that they may mediate the selective damage observed in mitochondrial disease.

The main proteins observed to be altered, VDAC1 and VDAC2, are key factors controlling transport of ions and molecules inside the mitochondria, so these results open a new and interesting line of research in the lab in the overarching goal of finding a cure for mito disease.

 

 

 

Pati and Pablo join the Quintana lab

As we already briefly mentioned in the last post, the lab is extremely happy to welcome our first graduate students, Patricia (Pati) Prada and Pablo Machuca.

Pati graduated in 2014 (Genetics) from the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona (UAB) and obtained a joint Masters in Biological Antropology  from the Universitat de Barcelona – UAB (our alma mater, by the way) in 2015.

Pablo also graduated in 2014 (Biochemistry) from the Universidad de Granada and in 2015 he obtained a Masters in Advanced Biotechnology from the Universidad de Málaga.

Both Pati and Pablo are pursuing a graduate program in Neurosciences and we are super-mega-sure they have a bright and succesful career in science ahead!

We are really excited to have them in the lab!

Cheers!

 

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Alex teaching some lab moves 🙂

A busy couple of months!

It’s been a while since the last post, and for a good reason!

It has been a really hectic couple of months…

But first things first…

During these months the lab space has taken shape, there is still some construction going on, but the main lab space is done. You can take a look at the benches before (and after) adding all the equipment.

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Importantly, our lab name plate is here! it is so cool to have it already in place, now we are even more excited to do science!

lab tag

 

The second remarkable event for the lab (other than the summer break) has been attending, in September, to the EMBO  workshop “Mitochondrial DNA and degeneration” held in Sitges, Barcelona.

It was a great meeting with plenty of exciting and eye-opening talks that showed us the cutting-edge science in mitochondrial research. Plus, we met many excellent mitochondrial scientists and potential collaborations!

FOTO GRUPO 1 psd (2)

Can you find Waldo (a.k.a the Quintana lab members?)

And last, but not least, we are really excited to introduce our new lab members 🙂 We welcome our first graduate students, Pati and Pablo, but this really deserves its own post!

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The lab gets bigger but we all share our drive to make excellent science in mitochondrial disease research!

 

The Quintana lab goes across the pond…

It has been an eventful couple of months for the Quintana lab.

It all started when we received a great offer to locate the lab at the Institute of Neurosciences at the Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona, in the outskirts of Barcelona, Spain and have our research funded by one of the prestigious ERC Starting Grants (NEUROMITO: more in current projects).

ercAfter some careful thought, we have decided that this is a great opportunity for the lab to grow and to pursue our goal of finding a cure for mitochondrial disease. This funding has allowed most of the lab to move to Barcelona and will sustain and enhance our research capability in the future.

Even though it is sad to leave Seattle and to say goodbye to our friends at Seattle Children’s Research Institute and the Northwest Mitochondrial Research Guild, we believe that this will be a positive move and that undoubtedly we will continue collaborating towards our common goal. We will always be in debt for the great opportunity, training and mentoring provided by our experience and colleagues in Seattle and we will continue to grow in Barcelona.

All “travelling” members: me (Albert), Eli, Alex, Irene and Kelsey are really looking forward to set our experiments up in Barcelona and we promise new and exciting updates soon! We are sad to leave Jessica and Ben behind, but we are sure they will have a bright and promising career in the future!

So, after a few years… we have to say: farewell Seattle and Welcome Barcelona!

 

 

Capcalera

Our latest paper is out!

We are really excited that our latest paper, in collaboration with the Bellen lab at Baylor, has been published in the prestigious journal Cell.

Our work, titled: Glial lipid droplets and ROS induced by mitochondrial defects promote neurodegeneration, has identified a conserved mechanism that leads to neuronal death after mitochondrial defects.

In this study, the Bellen lab, using the fruit fly as a model, identified that mitochondrial mutations causing reactive oxygen species (aka oxidative stress) induced  the accumulation of lipid droplets in glia, the cells that surround and support neurons, via activation of a pathway known as JNK/SREBP. Lipid droplets are energy storage organelles, especially when neurons are faulty, but when these lipid droplets become peroxidated glia is unable to support neurons, leading to their demise.

graphical abstract final

Credit: CellPress (cell.com)

Our work was key in identifying that this mechanism was present in mice, suggesting it has been evolutionary conserved, highlighting its potential importance.

Finally, we used a potent antioxidant, AD4, that crosses the blood-brain-barrier (which limits the access of many drugs to the brain), and showed that it was able to reduce and delay the onset of the disease.

We are really excited of the future therapeutic potential of this approach and we are really happy of this fruitful collaboration (pun intended!).

The article can be accessed here.

THE LAB GETS BIGGER!

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Not representative of a regular lab meeting…

Step by step… oh baby… That was the first line of a 1990 cheesy song

but step by step is the way the Quintana lab is growing.

We are really really excited to announce the new additions to the lab:

Dr. Irene Bolea is joining the lab as a postdoctoral fellow. She will be the force behind our experiments on mitochondrial biology and dynamics.

Dr. Alex Gella is joining the lab as a Visiting Scientist, providing his expertise in Biochemistry.

They are both coming from Barcelona (where they obtained their PhDs), via New York, to Seattle.

We are really glad to have them sharing their expertise and mentoring with us!

… And they have already met the Troll… I mean the one in the picture!

Big Welcome to Seattle and to the Quintana lab!!

 

Big Welcome to Kelsey

Kelsey labSo, the Quintana Lab keeps celebrating 🙂

This week we have just added a new member to the team, Kelsey Montgomery, our brand-new technician-geneticist (or geneticist-technician).

She got her BSc from UGA (Genetics) and she has gained very valuable experience working in a BioTech.

We are fortunate she decided to join us 🙂

 

She has only been here for a few days but she is already rocking the lab (as the picture shows).

 

So… Welcome Kelsey!!

Jessica impresses at Annual UW Undergraduate Research Symposium

JessicaThis past Friday Jessica Hui was in charge of showing her work in the Quintana Lab at the Annual UW Undergraduate Research Symposium.

The event was a blast with thousands of undergraduates presenting their contributions to science in a formal-but-relaxed, setting.

Overall, a great experience and the perfect way to get the feet wet on their scientific career.

And, needless to say, Jessica passed with flying colors, with clear and thoughtful answers to all the questions other scientists and scientists-to-be had.

 

Good job Jessica!

And belated congratulations for you Mary Gates Scholarship Award!

Keep the good work!