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Jason Mears, PhD
Assistant Professor
Case Western Reserve University

Mailing Address:
Wood Building W147D
Cleveland , OH 44106
Phone: 216-368-3348

Research Interests

In multicellular organisms, mitochondria are involved in a range of cellular processes, including ATP production, Ca2+ homeostasis and regulation of programmed cell death (apoptosis). Fig2 Control of these diverse processes is directly related to the dynamic nature of mitochondria, which continually divide and fuse. Inhibition of the fission machinery leads to an elongated mitochondrial network within the cell. Conversely, inhibition of fusion results in small, fragmented organelles. Therefore, a delicate balance of fission and fusion is needed to prevent morphological changes that impair mitochondrial redistribution and function.


Dr. Mears’s previous research has focused on Dnm1, the yeast DRP involved in mitochondrial fission. Using cryo-EM and image reconstruction techniques, he has examined the structure of Dnm1-lipid tubes and the molecular mechanism though which mitochondrial division occurs.


Moving forward, his lab will pursue a detailed understanding of the molecular machinery associated with mitochondrial division in yeast and mammalian cells (Fig. 2) Using cryo-EM along with biochemical and computational techniques, Dr. Mears’s group will investigate the structure of the DRPs and factors that regulate its activity. Mitochondrial dynamics play a critical role in maintaining the health of eukaryotic cells, and defects in mitochondrial morphology are associated with an increasing number of human diseases, including cancer, neurodegeneration and aging. Future research in the Mears laboratory will pursue a detailed understanding of the relationship between mitochondrial dynamics and disease.