Lily-sponsored researcher wins prize for mitochondrial disease thesis

9 November 2023
A group of five people standing in a restaurant window with a cityscape behind
Yasmin (centre) with her supervisors, from left to right, Prof Bobby McFarland, Dr Monika Winter, Dr Angela Pyle and Prof Rob Taylor

Back in December 2019, we were delighted to announce the latest addition to our Lily-funded research team, PhD student Yasmin Tang.

Nearly four years on, not only has Yasmin completed her PhD but she’s been awarded the Faculty Doctoral Thesis Prize for her studies. Proof that we only back the best here at The Lily Foundation!

For Yasmin, receiving this prestigious award is the culmination of four years of painstaking and highly skilled work. Based at Newcastle University’s Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and under the supervision of Dr Monika Winter, Dr Angela Pyle, Prof Bobby McFarland and Prof Rob Taylor, her research has involved carefully analysing vast amounts of complex data taken from patient-derived cell and tissue samples.

She’s dedicated her time to identifying new disease-causing genes and validating candidate mutations in undiagnosed mito families by correlating their relationship to different clinical phenotypes (characteristics of the disease that are observable in patients). She’s also undertaken important research to understand key mitochondrial processes and how these relate to both health and disease.

Yasmin is grateful for the opportunity our grant has given her to continue her work in trying to more closely understand the mysteries of our mitochondria. “It’s been a great pleasure working as a Lily-funded researcher,” she said. “Having the opportunity to interact with mito families during Lily events has really put my work into perspective and motivated me to continue my research into understanding mitochondrial health. Thank you all for your support!”

As well as acknowledging Yasmin’s hard work and dedication, the award also recognises the work of the wider team at Newcastle and highlights the growing importance of research in this area. Identifying new disease-causing genes is crucial for future research into mitochondrial disease, as well as for supporting families as they go through diagnostic pathways.

Yasmin’s Principal Investigator, Prof Taylor, reflected on this significant achievement: “We are all incredibly proud of Yasmin, and enormously grateful for her commitment to mito research. This award is testament to all her hard work and endeavour, and we wish her well in the next stage of her career at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Goettingen, Germany, studying how mitochondria maintain their structure.”

We echo his sentiments and are delighted to see another Lily-funded researcher making waves in the world of mito. Like us, Yasmin is dedicated to expanding her understanding of mitochondrial disease to bring us closer to potential treatments to improve the lives of those affected. We look forward to following her future progress in the search for that all-important cure.

You don’t have to be a scientist to help bring an end to mitochondrial disease. Lily researchers are funded entirely by public donations, and every penny brings positive change to the lives of people with mito. So please donate what you can today to support life-changing research and help make a difference.