Daria Kovalchuk

DC6: Quality control mechanisms in mitochondrial translation
About me

I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry (2020) and a Master’s degree in Biopharmaceutical Sciences (2022) from the University of Lisbon, Portugal. My Master’s research focused on the regulation of mitofusin-2 by post-translational modifications in Parkinson’s Disease.

Although my practical experience and research background range broadly from microbiology to cell structure and dynamics, I have always had a special interest in the field of mitochondria. In the MITGEST Doctoral Network, I have found the perfect opportunity to develop my PhD studies: in an environment of scientific excellence which offers an intimate connection between academia, research life, and clinical access. I joined Dr. Joanna Rorbach’s research group as part of the MITGEST project to study how genes are expressed in mitochondria and its implications for health and disease. We use advanced technologies, including next-generation sequencing, cryo-electron microscopy, single-molecule analysis, and comprehensive proteomics, to identify and understand the factors and regulatory pathways involved in mitochondrial function.

Being a researcher in the field I am passionate about gives me the freedom to follow my curiosity and fulfil my “knowledge cravings”. I look forward to actively contributing to the research development on mitochondrial gene expression and sharing the outcome of this exciting journey with you.



About my project

In this project, we will investigate ribosome-associated protein quality control mechanisms and identify mitoribosome surveillance pathways. We aim to characterise both biochemically and structurally the components of these rescue pathways. Through genetic screening, quantitative proteomics and cryoEM we will be able to understand: how is the stalled mitoribosome recognised, how is mitoribosome splitting triggered and what are the physiological consequences of the disruption of these processes.