Larry Simpson, Ph.D.
The trypanosomes or kinetoplastid protozoa comprise a large group of parasitic flagellated cells that are the causal agents for a variety of human and animal diseases. Research in Dr. Simpson’s laboratory has focused on the molecular biology of the mitochondrial genome in these organisms from several points of view. These cells represent one of the earliest eukaryotic lineages containing mitochondria and, as such, possess many unusual physical and biochemical features, among which is a mitochondrial genome known as ‘kinetoplast DNA’ that consists of a network of thousands of catenated mini- and maxicircles, transcripts of which are modified by a novel process termed ‘RNA editing’. Click here to see several micrographs of kDNA networks.