Associate Professor of Neurology
Associate Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Leonard M. Miller School of Medicine
Evelyn F. McKnight Brain Institute
Dr. Barrientos is interested in the basic processes underlying the biogenesis of the mitochondrial respiratory chain (MRC) and how they bear on human neuromuscular and neurodegenerative disorders and during the aging process. We use yeast and mammalian cell culture models for our research
Three of the research lines in the lab involve:
1- We intend to delineate the assembly process of the enzymes composing the MRC, with special emphasis in cytochrome c oxidase (COX). COX deficiency is the most frequent cause of mitochondrial neuromyopathies in humans and has been shown to decline with age.
2- We are interested in the creation of yeast and neuronal models of age-related human neurodegenerative disorders (including Huntington’s disease and Parkinson’s disease). This will help us study the alterations in mitochondrial physiology that could be essential for the pathogenic mechanism of such disorders.
3- We have created novel yeast models of chronological aging that are being used to explore the role of mitochondrial function in the aging-disease relationship. The results obtained are being validated in mammalian neuronal aging models.