Welcome to the Zuryn lab!

With life expectancies increasing around the world, neurodegenerative disorders and other late-onset inflictions represent an enormous disease burden on individuals, families, and society. Mitochondria are tiny organelles within our cells that burn the calories we eat with the oxygen we consume to produce storable chemical energy for our cellular functions. Mitochondrial health has been intimately linked to neurodegeneration and ageing in general. Interestingly, these organelles contain their own DNA genome (mtDNA), which is very different in terms of structure and function to the nuclear genome. Because mtDNA is exposed to potent and chronic sources of damaging free radicals and constantly undergoes replication in each cell, it accumulates molecular lesions and copying errors over time. A gradual build of mistakes has been proposed to contribute to the progressive nature of late-onset diseases. Moreover, these defects can be inherited and cause a range of devastating metabolic disorders called mitochondrial diseases that primarily affect cells and organs that are energetically demanding (such as the brain and muscles). Unfortunately, these mutations are not reparable and the diseases are currently incurable.
Zuryn Lab Jmjd3 C. elegans embryo
Our lab uses cutting edge molecular genetic techniques in the highly successful model organism C. elegans (look left) to understand the fundamental mechanisms neurons and other cell types use to counter the effects of mtDNA mutations.  

In addition, we are focusing our attention on other fundamental aspects of mtDNA mutations, such as their distribution in different cell types. Interestingly, we recently discovered that certain cell types are prone to propagating mtDNA mutations moreso than others. We are currently performing experiments to understand how. 

We are also interested in epigenetic mechanisms that mitochondria may utilise for their function.

By understanding these fundamental mechanisms, we anticipate that novel opportunities for treating mitochondrial associated diseases will become apparent.

This is  a live C. elegans embryo expressing JMJD-3.1::mCherry and a GFP cell membrane marker. JMJD-3.1 localises to the nucleus of the cell where it demethylates histone H3 lysine 27, and helps to allow efficient gene expression.
Zuryn Lab Mitochondrial mCherry
Mitochondria are labelled with mCherry in the body wall muscle cells of ​C. elegans. Mitochondria can be highly networked and dynamically change shape. Dark circles indicate the location of nuclei.

We are always interested in recruiting talented investigators to our lab!  If you are interested, please see the contact page.

10 September: Steve will give a seminar on mtDNA mosaicism in animals this Thursday at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, Perth. Details are here! 

8 june 2018: Chew's paper is out in Nature Communications!!! Congratulations Chew. He has identified an alternative assembly of complex II during energetic stress: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41467-018-04603-z

2-5 May 2018: The lab starts its first retreat in Noosa on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland! The weather is great and the water is warm! The Hilliard lab has joined us for the occasion. See some of the photos here

26 February 2018: Our Nature Cell Biology  paper made the front cover! Credit to Nick Valmas at the Queensland Brain Institute for making the image from our fluorescent animals.
21 February 2018: Welcome back to Chris, who rejoins the lab to continue his research.

22 January 2018: The lab's first paper is out in Nature Cell Biology!!! Congratulations Arnaud! Here we have disocovered that mitochondrial genome mutations follow patterns of abundance, dependent upon the cell type. We developed a new method to purify cell-specific mitochondria to show this. See the paper here: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41556-017-0023-x

19 October 2017: Michael (PhD student from the lab) will present his very intersting work on mtDNA at the CJCADR forum this morning. 

11 October 2017: A big welcome to Liam McBride Kelly who joins the lab as an undergrad student.

22 September 2017: Check out a mitochondrial explainer that Steve wrote for The Conversation, published today

7 Septmber 2017: Three cheers for Andrea who is moving to London! Andrea joined the lab as an RA from day 1 and greatly helped to set up and organise everything, as well as have her own projects. A massive thanks for all of  your contributions and hard work. You will be missed!

21 August 2017: Gavin Ferguson from UNSW has joined the lab for a month to collaborate on his PhD project. Welcome Gavin!

31 May 2017: The innaugral Australian C. elegans Symposium has been announced to be held at QBI on the 25-27th of October 2017. Check out the website and register if interested.

16 May 2017: Anne Hahn, a new PhD student from Germany has finally joined the lab. Welcome! She was also just awarded an international PhD scholarship. Congratulations Anne!

6 March 2017: Ina Kirmes has joined the lab as a postdoc. Welcome Ina!

6 February 2017: Ayenachew Bezawork-Geleta joins the lab today as our new postdoc. Welcome Chew!

1 February 2017: Chai-Chee Ng joins the lab today as a QBI MPhil Neuroscience rotation student. Welcome Chai-chee!

9 January 2017: Dr. Chris Brosnan has joined the lab as a visiting academic from ETH Zurich. Welcome Chris!

5 December 2016: We were just awarded an NHMRC Project grant. Thank you NHMRC for funding our research!
We should take this opportunity to also thank the generous support of the Stafford Fox Medical Research Foundation and the UQ Early Career Research granting body for funding our research as well. 

26 November 2016: The Aussiemit 2016 conference starts today. Steve will be giving a talk on Monday. 

18 November 2016: Steve is giving an invited seminar today at School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, UNSW, 3pm.  

11 November 2016: We are looking for another postdoc to join our lab: https://www.seek.com.au/job/32218485​

26 September 2016: The Zuryn Lab has officially been invited to join the Clem Jones Centre for Ageing Dementia Research (CJCADR)! CJCADR is a prestigious and highly succesful centre made up of a select group of labs within QBI that study neurodegenerative diseases (http://www.qbi.uq.edu.au/clem-jones-centre-ageing-dementia-research-cjcadr). This membership will enhance our collaboration with other teams at QBI and expose us to higher models of neurodegeneration, including human patients.  

2 August 2016: Steve has been invited to give a talk at the Aussiemit2016 Conference in Sydney. The other speakers are excellent. Check them out and register now if you want to attend: http://www.aussiemit.com.au/speakers/

18 July 2016: New Faculty Profile on GSA website: http://genestogenomes.org/new-faculty-profile-steven-zuryn/
22 June 2016: Michael (Chuan-yang) was awarded a highly competitive International PhD Scholarship! Congratulations Michael!

15 June 2016: Steve is giving a Seminar today at The School of Chemistry and Molecular Biology, UQ. 12pm, AIBN Seminar room.

©2018 Zuryn Lab. Photography by Steve Zuryn and Nick Valmas