Helene Lemieux

Summary:

Mitochondria are fascinating organelles which play a key role in cellular energy production. Alteration in mitochondrial mechanisms is inherently associated with aging, and several diseases including cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Although focus has been placed on genetic and proteomic research, developing a deeper understanding on mitochondrial functions and regulation has been neglected. We are exploring these variations between species, tissues, sexes and stages of development. In human, we have found that oxidative phosphorylation is regulated by the electron transport system in young children whereas it is regulated by the phosphorylation system in adults. We have also measured significant functional differences between sexes in Nile rats during development and aging. These divergences illustrate the importance of considering sexual dimorphism, while research is still most often performed only on males. Our laboratory is involved in many collaborations pertaining to the health of women and children, including projects on iron deficiency during pregnancy (with Dr. Bourque), on breast cancer (with Dr. Goping), and on retinoblastoma (a childhood tumor, with Dr. Godbout).