The Hill lab has a growing interest in the performance of mitochondria. Recent research by the Hill lab, the Wendy Hood lab (Biological Sciences - Auburn), and the Andreas Kavazis (Kinesiology – Auburn) lab has shown that red carotenoid coloration is directly linked to mitochondrial function, and we have hypothesized that loss of mitochondrial function plays a key role the isolation of genes pools in the process of speciation. Thus, measuring mitochondrial function is central to future research. For effective measurements of mitochondrial function, mitochondria must be isolated immediately after tissue collection. The tissue cannot be frozen and there is no way to suspend the rapid loss of mitochondrial activity with time. We realized that the capacity to conduct off-site measurements would immediately create new funding opportunities and expand the boundaries of current investigations.
In the fall of 2017, Auburn University announced a new competition for key resources that would create new research opportunities for teams of Auburn scientists. Hill, Hood, and Kavazis along with Bruce Gladden (Kinesiology – Auburn) and Robert Nelms (Engineering – Auburn) submitted a proposal to build and validate a mobile laboratory for mitochondrial research. We proposed a full wet lab with high speed centrifuges, ultra-cold freezers, and respiratometers. We were chosen as one of very few large projects and we spend late 2018/early 2019 converting a large recreational vehicle into a mobile laboratory. As of August 30, 2019 the Mitomobile is completed and validation studies have started.
The Hill/Hood/Kavazis labs are looking for collaborators who can suggest exciting applications of this unique field laboratory.