The Hamel laboratory (founded in 2005) is located on the top floor of Aronoff Laboratory on the main campus of The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio. We are interested in the biogenesis of the energy-transducing membrane systems, in particular those evolved in mitochondria and chloroplasts. More specifically, we are focused on elucidating the assembly of mitochondrial complex I, a multimeric enzyme involved in respiration. Complex I-linked diseases are the most prevalent forms of mitochondrial diseases in humans and mutations in yet-to-be-discovered assembly factors account for most of Complex I-based pathologies. Our efforts focus on the discovery of novel complex I assembly factors (in collaboration with Dr. C. Remacle, University of Liege, Belgium). We are using the green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii and the vascular plant Arabidopsis thaliana as model systems for our studies and molecular genetics and biochemical approaches.

Our laboratory is also investigating the pathways controlling disulfide bond formation and reduction in the lumen of the chloroplast. This is a new development in the field of organelle biology as the thylakoid lumen was thought to be a vacant compartment. The molecular identity of the redox components defining such pathways, their relevant targets of action, and how they control photosynthesis are the experimental questions we are currently addressing. More recently, we have become interested in the development of Chlamydomonas for the production of biohydrogen as a renewable source of energy (in collaboration with Dr. Alex Dubini, University of Córdoba, Spain & Dr. Hannah Shafaat The Ohio State University, USA).

Ph.D. candidates interested in our research should apply to one of the following graduate programs: Molecular Genetics, Ohio State Biochemistry Program, Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, or Biophysics.