It is very exciting when one finds results that push the boundaries of our knowledge
Education — 31.03.2021

PhD Programme

It is very exciting when one finds results that push the boundaries of our knowledge

Abhijith Makki is a postdoc in the laboratory of prof. Jan Tachezy. He study parasites that cause urogenital infections.

Trichomonas vaginalis

What PhD research project in BIOCEV are you participated in?

I am a post-doctoral researcher in Prof. Jan Tachezy's lab, Dept. of Parasitology, Charles University, BIOCEV. I work on mitochondrial biogenesis, primarily focused on the import of nuclear-encoded proteins into mitochondria. I use a human parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis as a model organism, which has metabolically-specialized and reductively evolved mitochondria called hydrogenosomes. My Ph.D. thesis was on "Protein translocation into hydrogenosomes of Trichomonas vaginalis".

What is so exciting about science?

As scientific researchers, we work on topics that have remained unknown for sometime. It is very exciting and satisfying when one finds results that push the boundaries of our knowledge. Mitochondria carry out several important functions in eukaryotes. Hence, the import of proteins into mitochondria is indispensable, failure of which can lead to impaired growth, cell death, or major complications such as neurodegenerative disorders, cardiomyopathy etc.

Although mitochondrial protein import is conserved, several medically important parasites have highly divergent or unique proteins compared to their hosts, which can be explored as potential drug targets. Additionally, my work also has some implications on our understanding of mitochondrial origin and evolution. 

What do you think are the benefits of working or studying at the BIOCEV center?

The labs are working on several interesting and important projects, they are well funded and BIOCEV has great infrastructure with core facilities for microscopy, proteomics, genomics, structural biology etc. Additionally, BIOCEV is located in a very nice campus and Prague is a lovely city to live in. I definitely recommend students to pursue their Ph.D. in BIOCEV.