Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level



Biological Sciences


Iyer, Shilpa

Committee Member/Reader

Millett, Francis

Committee Member/Second Reader

Lessner, Daniel

Committee Member/Third Reader

Chapman, Kate


The mitochondria perform a plethora of important functions within the cell, with one of the most paramount being ATP production. Deregulation of its function can have dire consequences on cellular functions. Mutations such as deletions within the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) can cause disease within the patients affected. These diseases often affect children, causing symptoms such as gradual loss of eyesight and hearing, diabetes, and other problems that lower the quality of life. The mitochondria are also very dynamic organelles that undergo rounds of fission and fusion to keep up with the metabolic needs of cells, necessitating a homeostatic balance between these processes in healthy mitochondria. While advances in technology continue to highlight various novel functions of the mitochondria, our understanding of how various mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) affects mitochondrial structure and function is still lagging. In this study, we examine the effects of mtDNA deletions on the structure and function of the mitochondria. Using the Mitochondrial Network Analysis tool (MiNA), we were able to identify structural changes in mitochondria of patient fibroblast cell lines with mtDNA deletions. These structural changes correspond to a subsequent decrease in mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), a measure of mitochondria health. Result from this study suggests a relationship between mitochondrial structural remodeling and function in diseased fibroblast cell lines.


Bioenergetics, Mitochondrial Morphology, Mitochondrial Mutation, Kearns-Sayre Syndrome, Pearson Syndrome