MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit

MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit

MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
The Wellcome Trust/MRC building, housing the Cambridge Institute for Medical Research and the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
Abbreviation MBU
Formation 1927
Type Research institute
Legal status Government agency
Purpose Mitochondrial research
Headquarters The Wellcome Trust/MRC building
Professor Massimo Zeviani
Parent organization
Medical Research Council
Website MBU

The MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit (formerly the MRC Dunn Human Nutrition Unit) is an institution of the eukaryotic metabolism and is implicated in a large number of metabolic, degenerative, and age-related human diseases.


The Unit was originally founded in 1927 using a donation from Sir William Dunn, who left £1 million to charity on his death in 1912. Part of this money was used to fund what was then called the Dunn Nutritional Laboratory, with its research supported by the MRC. The Unit was renamed in 2009 to the Mitochondrial Biology Unit under the directorship of Professor Sir John Walker to reflect its expertise in mitochondrial research. The current director of the Unit is Professor Massimo Zeviani.[1]

The Unit has three major scientific aims:[2]

  1. To understand the fundamental processes taking place in mitochondria
  2. To understand the involvement of these processes in human diseases
  3. To exploit knowledge of these fundamental processes for the development of new therapies to treat human diseases

Research Groups

The MBU is organised into eight independent research groups[3] and includes 30-40 graduate students who are members of the University of Cambridge:

  • Professor Massimo Zeviani - Molecular basis for inherited mitochondrial disease
  • Judy Hirst - Understanding the molecular mechanism of complex I and its roles in human disease
  • Ian Fearnley - Mitochondrial proteomics
  • Edmund Kunji - Understanding transport processes in mitochondria
  • Michal Minczuk - Discovering the genetic links between mitochondrial dysfunction and human disease
  • Mike Murphy - Targeting therapeutic and probe molecules to mitochondria, mitochondrial radical production and redox signalling
  • Alan Robinson - Understanding mitochondria using computer modelling
  • Professor Sir John Walker - Understanding the molecular mechanism of how ATP is made


The MBU is the home of several freely-accessible scientific web-resources:

MitoMiner - a mitochondrial proteomics database that provides information on cellular localisation, function and species & tissue specific expression

The Integrated Mitochondrial Protein Index (IMPI) - a list of all the genes and proteins that make up the mammalian mitochondrion


Professor Massimo Zeviani (2013 - )

Professor Sir John Walker (1998 - 2013)[1][4]

See also


  1. ^ a b Directorship of the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
  2. ^ Introduction
  3. ^ Research Groups Page
  4. ^ Curriculum-Vitae

External links

  • Official website