What are Mitochondria?

Over the last year I have been lucky enough to work with an inspirational team of researchers at Newcastle Universities Medical School.

This team are researching ways in which they can tackle, cure, prevent and manage a condition called Mitochondrial Disease. I know what you are thinking, what is Mitochondrial Disease, and in fact what are Mitochondria?? I was exactly the same and I had no idea how important Mitochondria are, that we all have them in our bodies and that we should make sure we take care of them!!


Below is a short animated video that will give you some idea of how important Mitochondria are, and highlights the important work that the Lily Foundation is doing to help support people with this debilitating condition in the UK. The film is also narrated by the fabulous Bill Nighy.

Internationally celebrities like Jack Black in the US are also raising awareness and money to assist in the research and support being carried out in the United States.

I suppose what this demonstrates is that awareness and support is increasing the chance of finding a cure for this debilitating disease. As you will see in the Lily Foundation film faulty Mitochondria have also been linked to many other more familiar conditions such as, diabetes, cancer, liver disease, autism, epilepsy, heart disease and parkinsons to name a few. The progress in the research means the knock on effect of treatment for many other conditions could have far reaching potential.


Newcastle University have already carried out a range of public engagement with the wider community in the North East of the UK and in 2013 carried out a project called ‘Eve’s Curse’. The culmination of which was exhibited at The Hancock Museum. Participants ranged from community groups, schools to professional artists, and the final exhibit provided the opportunity to select artwork to create a calendar of artworks. The film below shows the project and its outcomes.

Newcastle University have tasked me as an artist to shine a light on the great work that researchers are carrying out within the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial research at Newcastle University. While also finding a narrative that will develop relationships with new audiences and provide a variety of engagement opportunities.

You can find out more about the work that I have been doing over the last year here.

Other blog posts that might be of interest are Inner Space Adventures which is all about the stunning images that I produced using a microscope at Newcastle University. Another one of my blog posts that relates to this commission is Tell me Your Story this post explores the work I carried out with Patients from the Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research, there are some great examples of how an artsession can inform your creative practice, but also a sneak peek of the artwork that patients produced. My latest blog post is about the educational work that I have carried out at a local Infants School in Gateshead it showcases the childrens response to the microscopy work that I produced during the commission and and colourful images of Mitochondria you can take a look at this work in the Mito & Micro Fun post.

This commission was funded by NICAP (Newcastle Institute of Creative Practice and Engage FMS. More details about NICAP can be found here.And it was supported by The Wellcome Trust Centre for Mitochondrial Research.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. What a really interesting project connecting art and science. I love it!

    1. Thanks so much Cal!! Really pleased you enjoyed it. Feel free to share it with anyone that you think might be intersted. We are trying to raise as much awreness as possible. Have a lovely day 🙂

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