The Park lab will elucidate the mechanism of biogenesis and quality control of mitochondria. Mitochondria are subcellular structures that perform many vital functions, including the generation of energy derived from the breakdown of food. To perform these functions, over a thousand different proteins and enzymes must be imported into the mitochondria across their membranes, mediated by molecular machines called protein translocases. In addition, the same translocases play crucial roles in quality control pathways to remove damaged mitochondria and mitochondrial proteins. Recently, I obtained a detailed structure of one of the mitochondrial translocases. Now, my lab will investigate how other mitochondrial translocases operate and how these import machineries work together with factors in quality control pathways to maintain healthy mitochondria. Because mitochondrial dysfunction has been implicated as a major driver in aging and neurodegenerative diseases, the understanding of these mechanisms will provide the foundation to develop new approaches to improve health.