Neurological Foundation W & B Miller Postgraduate Scholarship


Matthew Rowe
Victoria University of Wellington

Inter-cellular mitochondrial transfer: A cell survival mechanism in response to disease and therapy in neural tissues

The death or survival of brain cells in disease: investigating the biological processes

A striking recent discovery in cell biology is the transfer of mitochondria between cells. Mitochondria are the ‘batteries’ of cells.  Mitochondrial transfer has now been shown in a variety of research settings, however the purpose or consequences of this phenomenon are not yet clear. Mr Rowe’s research will examine mitochondrial transfer in two related diseases – neurodegeneration and neurological cancer. Each disease involves the same neural tissues, however the outcomes in each are vastly different - death of the cells in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, or survival and proliferation of the cells in cancer. This under- explored, likely fundamental biological process has implications for treatment strategies in both neuro-oncology and neurodegeneration.