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Department of Human Biology hosts the 7th Mitochondrial Physiology School

17 Apr 2015 - 10:00

The 7th MiPschool of the Mitochondrial Physiology Society was hosted by UTC’s Department of Human Biology from 23-27 March 2015. The events kicked-off with an exciting public lecture at the Exercise Science and Sports Medicine (ESSM) division by Erich Gnaiger, Professor at the Daniel Swarovski Research Laboratory, Department of Visceral, Transplant and Thoracic Surgery at the Medical University of Innsbruck, Austria, and CEO of OROBOROS INSTRUMENTS, who shared some of his experiences during the many expeditions he and his team have undertaken to investigate mitochondrial function at extreme conditions.

The public lecture was followed by a two-day workshop on high resolution respirometry and O2k-Fluorometry, the first in Africa, at the O2k-Network Lab of A/Prof Edward O Ojuka. The workshop, which attracted 30 participants from 9 countries, explored quality control measures for the OROBOROS Oxygraph-2k performance, optimization of OXPHOS analysis to evaluate coupling efficiencies and OXPHOS capacities with carbohydrate versus fatty acid substrates, and diagnosis of defects in respiratory complexes and phosphorylation units of the electron transport system. Novel developments on substrate-uncoupler-inhibitor titration (SUIT) protocols using the O2k-Flourescence LED2-Module for simultaneous measurement of hydrogen peroxide production (Amplex red ®) and mt- membrane potential were also discussed.

A three day MiPschool, held at the Southern Sun Hotel in Newlands, crowned the events of 7th Mitochondrial Physiology School. The event, which draws 50 participants from 10 countries, consisted of lectures by 7 international and local experts and short presentations by participants. Topics covered were diverse and relevant to graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and scientists from academia and biotechnology/pharmaceutical companies. Three technologies for assessing mitochondrial function were featured at the school:

  1. High-Resolution Respiromerty using Oroboros O2k Oxygraph,
  2. XFp Extracellular Flux Analyzer from Seahorse Bioscience and
  3. Super Resolution Confocal Microscope from Zeiss.

A gala dinner, held at Kirstenbosh National Botanical Gardens crowned the MiPschool experience.

According to the President of the Mitochondrial Society, Professor Erich Gnaiger, the scientific quality of the lectures and discussions, the high level of motivation by participants, and the excellent organization, made the 7th Mitochondrial School and O2K workshop highly successful and another MiPschool in Cape Town will be held in 2017.

Report by A/Prof Edward Ojuka
Organizer of MiP school, 2015 in Cape Town