International Speakers

Dr Patrick Chinnery headshot

Dr Patrick Chinnery FRCP FRCPath FMedSci (UK)
University of Cambridge

Dr Patrick Chinnery is Professor of Neurology at the University of Cambridge and an Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Addenbrooke’s Hospital. He runs a combined clinical and laboratory research program based in the MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit and has been supported by Wellcome Trust since 1995, most recently through a Principal Research Fellowship. He is known for his expertise in rare inherited diseases that affect the nervous system. His lab has been studying the genetic basis of mitochondrial disorders for over two decades, harnessing the power of whole genome sequencing and developing new treatments through experimental medicine and early-phase trials.

Dr Heidi McBride headshot

Dr Heidi McBride, PhD (Canada)
Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University

Dr Heidi McBride is a Professor at McGill University in the Montreal Neurological Institute. Her work focuses on the molecular mechanisms and function of mitochondrial dynamics. The overarching theme is to understand the fundamental behaviour of the mitochondria and identify the molecular mechanisms of communication required to mediate cellular transitions, including metabolic, cell cycle, immune pathways, and cell death transitions. Recent areas of research interest include mechanisms of mitochondrial contributions to neurodegeneration, the generation of inter-organellar contacts that facilitate metabolic flux, and the role of the mitochondria as a unique signalling platform in the cell.

Dr Carlos Moraes headshot

Dr Carlos Moraes, PhD (USA)

University of Miami

Dr Carlos Moraes obtained a PhD in Genetics from Columbia University, mentored by Dr Eric Schon and Dr Salvatore DiMauro. He has worked on mitochondrial diseases since 1987 and defined several aspects of mtDNA mutations in humans. His lab at the University of Miami has studied the pathobiology of mitochondrial diseases using several mouse models of mitochondrial defects. More recently, his group has focused on developing gene therapy approaches for mitochondrial diseases using DNA editing enzymes.

Dr Lena Pernas headshot

Dr Lena Pernas, PhD (USA)

David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Following a PhD at Stanford University and postdoctoral studies at the University of Padua, Italy, Dr Lena Pernas started as a Max Planck Research Group Leader at the MPI Biology for Ageing (Cologne, Germany) in late 2018. Her lab has since moved to the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics and Metabolism Theme at UCLA, where they study how cells actively rewire organelle function and metabolic processes to defend against microbes—in contrast to the traditional view that organelles are passive bystanders during infection that are exploited by microbes. Dr Lena Pernas is an inaugural Howard Hughes Medical Institute Freeman Hrabowski Scholar and is supported by the VolkswagenStiftung, DFG, ERC, and GCRLE. For her scientific contributions, she has been awarded the FEBS Anniversary Prize and BINDER Innovation Prize.

Dr Lena Pernas can no longer attend AussieMit in person. She will be presenting via Zoom.