UW Medicine

Leo Pallanck

Leo Pallanck


Professor of Genome Sciences

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Mitochondrial quality control in aging.

Much of Dr. Pallanck’s current work stems from his studies of Drosophila homologs of the Parkinson’s disease-related genes parkin and PINK1. His work on Parkin and PINK1 led to his hypothesis that these factors promote the degradation of damaged mitochondria through mitophagy, a mitochondrial-selective form of autophagy. Work in many different laboratories validated his hypothesis, and mitochondrial quality control now constitutes a major topic of study in his laboratory. In addition, he is also studying the biological functions of the AAA+-family of mitochondrial proteases, the cellular mechanisms that influence mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) frequency, and the biological roles of other Parkinson’s disease-related genes that may also influence mitochondrial quality control. Given his extensive track record of using Drosophila genetics to study fundamental biological problems, his laboratory offers a broad range of training opportunities for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows interested in the intersection of mitochondrial quality control with the biology of aging.