Carla M. Koehler, Ph.D.

Laboratory Address:
Young Hall 4043

Mailing Address:
Mail Code: 156905
607 Charles Young Drive East
Los Angeles, CA 90095

Work Address:
Young Hall 4041A

Lab Director, Koehler Lab
Professor, Chemistry and Biochemistry, Biochemistry, Molecular Biology
Member, Biochemistry, Biophysics & Structural Biology GPB Home Area, Brain Research Institute, Cell & Developmental Biology GPB Home Area, I3T Theme, JCCC Cancer and Stem Cell Biology Program Area, Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, Molecular Biology Institute
Researcher, Biochemistry, Chemical Biology
Research Interests
A basic question of cell biology is the mechanism by which a protein reaches its correct location within the cell. Of all the organelles in a mammalian cell, the mitochondrion is the most complex because two membranes must be crossed. In addition to the metabolic role, the mitochondria is a key player in many cellular processes including apoptosis, metal ion homeostasis and aging. My specific interests lie in mitochondrial biogenesis, particularly the mechanism by which proteins are imported into the mitochondrial inner membrane. Our laboratory uses a combined genetic and biochemical approach to understand this basic process in the model organism Saccharomyces cerevisae. But we have expanded into mammalian systems now with the identification of the molecular basis of a mitochondrial disease with symptoms of deafness, blindness, and movement disorders. This disease is caused by a defect in import of inner membrane proteins. Current studies continue in both mammalian and yeast systems. Our broad interests are to understand mitochondrial biogenesis and how it relates to cellular homeostasis.

Professor Koehler has been a faculty member in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry since 1999. She came to UCLA after doing post-doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr Gottfried Schatz at the Biozentrum, Basel, Switzerland. Her research characterized a new protein import pathway in the mitochondrion and linked a defect in protein import with the inherited disease deafness-dystonia syndrome. Dr. Koehler completed her graduate studies at Iowa State University, characterizing the inheritance of mitochondrial DNA during her M.S. studies and studying dimorphism in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Dr. Koehler is a former Damon Runyon Scholar and current Established Investigator of the American Heart Association. Dr. Koehler is an Associate Editor for Current Genetics. She has been a member of the Molecular Biology Institute, Jonsson Cancer Center, and the Brain Research Institute since 1999. Her current research focuses on developing vertebrate models for mitochondrial diseases as well as using yeast for mechanistic studies on mitochondrial biogenesis.

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