Mitochondria Meeting: From Symbiotic Origins to Therapeutic Opportunities

The Evolving Concept of Mitochondria: From Symbiotic Origins to Therapeutic Opportunities

Since it was first observed within cells at the end of the nineteenth century, our bacterial endosymbiont, the mitochondrion, has been interrogated from many perspectives. Initially described as a cytoplasmic structure, then as the source of energy, later an organismal entity, and recently a component of many diseases, the multi-faceted mitochondrion has engendered fascination from a broad spectrum of physical, chemical, biological, and medical perspectives.

What is this cell-within-a-cell? Where did it come from? What is its relevance to our health and well being? How will mitochondrial knowledge affect the future? These are the questions we hope to discuss in this stimulating meeting of modern mitochondriacs who will discuss past, current state and future prospects through their important contributions to the field.

Meeting Topics

  • Mitochondrial Biology, Bioenergetics, Biogenesis and Disease
  • The Origins of the Organelle
  • Complex I - from Structure to Disease
  • Mitochondrial DNA: Structure, Function and Inheritance
  • Mitochondrial Expression System and Proteome
  • Mitochondrial Protein Import Systems and Metabolic Transporters
  • Mitochondrial Diseases, Past and Present
  • Mitochondrial Regulation of Metabolism
  • Mitochondria, Calcium Signaling and Cell Death
  • Mitochondrial Dynamics and Quality Control
  • Novel Approaches to Mitochondrial Therapy
  • Preserving the History of Mitochondria Research

See the Meeting Yourself

This unique meeting covering the history of mitochondrial research to the latest developments has been preserved and is available for your immediate viewing. PROGRAM contains session topics and links to the full length video and slides of talks presented. PROFILES contains biographies of the people in the field who presented. PARTICIPANTS lists those who attended and their institutions. PHOTOS contain hundreds of candid photos taken during the meeting. SUBMIT YOUR STORY enables meeting participents to add additional recollections about the history of the mitochondrial research field.

What are Mitochondria?

Generally regarded as the powerhouse of the cell, mitochondria are eukaryotic organelles that provide a tremendous amount of support to the cell. Originally observed in 1857 by Albert von Kӧlliker, and later termed “bioblasts” by Richard Altman in 1886; these organelles were officially termed “mitochondria” (translated to “thread granules”) by Carl Benda in 1898. Since its early discovery, pioneering research has uncovered that these double-membrane bound organelles are unique in that they contain their own DNA, as well as mediate processes involved in producing cellular energy, regulating cellular metabolism, and controlling cell growth and cell death.

Therefore, understanding the structure and function of this multi-faceted organelle is critical to addressing how dysfunction within the mitochondria can potentially regulate mitochondria-induced pathogenesis. The implication that mitochondria dysfunction is involved in such disease states as diabetes, cancer, neurodegeneration, mitochondrial diseases, and neuropathy; means that the better we can assess the dynamics of basic mitochondrial function and mitochondria-induced disease states, the better we can identify potential therapeutic applications.

Previous History of Science Meetings

This meeting is the eigth in a series organized by the CSHL Meeting and Courses Department together with CSHL Center for Humanities Studies of Modern Biology: Culture, History, Art, and Humanity. We have invited speakers who made many of the seminal discoveries that began the field, as well as those who are working in the field now. We also invite historians who have examined the scientific and societal context of the field. Like the previous meetings in the series, this meeting will provide an excellent opportunity to look in depth at a topic and to share the stories that are often missing from academic accounts.

Previous meetings in the series include:


  • Anu Suomalainen, University of Helsinki, Finland
  • John E. Walker, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • Douglas C. Wallace, Children's Hospital of Philadelphia & University of Pennsylvania
  • Mila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory


  • Paolo Bernardi, University of Padova
  • Charles Brenner, University of Iowa
  • Valerio Carelli, University of Bologna
  • David Chan, California Institute of Technology
  • Navdeep S Chandel, Northwestern University
  • Patrick Chinnery, University of Cambridge MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
  • Anne Chomyn, California Institute of Technology
  • Jose Antonio Enriquez, Fundación Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares
  • Marni Falk, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Maria Falkenberg, University of Gothenburg
  • Toren Finkel, University of Pittsburgh
  • Michael W. Gray, Dalhousie University
  • Claes Gustafsson, University of Gothenburg
  • Marcia Haigis, Harvard Medical School
  • György Hajnóczky, Thomas Jefferson University
  • Mary Herbert, Newcastle Fertility Centre and Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research
  • Henry Higgs, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth
  • Judy Hirst, MRC Mitochondrial Biology Unit
  • Howard Jacobs, Univeristy of Tampere
  • Laurie S. Kaguni, Michigan State University
  • Emine C. Koc, Marshall University School of Medicine
  • Carla Koehler, UCLA
  • Edmund R. Kunji, University of Cambridge
  • Nick Lane, University College London
  • Nils-Göran Larsson, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
  • Dan Mishmar, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
  • Vasmi K. Mootha, Massachusetts General Hospital
  • Carlos T. Moraes, University of Miami
  • David G. Nicholls, Buck Institute for Research on Aging
  • Ferdinando Palmieri, University of Bari Aldo Moro
  • Nikolaus Pfanner, University of Freiburg
  • Ludmila Pollock, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Vincent Procaccio, University of Angers
  • Peter Rich, University College London
  • Rosario Rizzuto, University of Padova
  • Jared Rutter, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Agnès Rötig, Imagine Institut
  • Leonid Sazanov, Institute of Science & Technology
  • Eric A. Schon, Columbia University
  • Luca Scorrano, University of Padova
  • Orian Shirihai, University of California
  • Eric A. Shoubridge, McGill University/MNI
  • Bruce M. Spiegelman, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
  • James B. Stewart, Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing
  • Bruce Stillman, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory
  • Anu Suomalainen, University of Helsinki
  • Aleksandra Trifunovic, University of Cologne
  • John Walker, University of Cambridge
  • Douglas Wallace, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Richard Youle, NINDS, NIH
  • Ian Young, Australian National University
  • Massimo Zeviani, MRC- University of Cambridge