Dr Heather Mortiboys


Department of Neuroscience

Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience

Senior Lecturer

+44 114 222 2259
+44 114 222 2295 (Administrator: Bev Carter)

Full contact details

Dr Heather Mortiboys
Department of Neuroscience
Room B50
385a Glossop Road
S10 2HQ

I was awarded my PhD from the International Max Planck PhD Program in Dresden Germany in 2006 with the grade summa cum laude; this project focused on the ‘Influence of mitochondrial energy metabolism on cellular function: implications for neurometabolic and neurodegenerative diseases.’

After which I worked in the Neurology department at the University Hospital Dresden as a research associate on an EU funded project investigating Co-enzyme Q deficiency in patient tissue.

I joined the Neuroscience department at the University of Sheffield in 2006 to set up mitochondrial investigations in models of Parkinson’s Disease working as a postdoctoral research associate with Prof. Oliver Bandmann.

I started my own lab when I became a Parkinson’s UK Senior Research Fellow in September 2013 based within the Sheffield Institute for Translational Neuroscience (SITraN).

I am currently a Senior Lecturer in Translational Neuroscience.

Research interests

The main focus of my lab is mitochondria in neurodegenerative diseases, primarily focused on Parkinson’s Disease. This encompasses mitochondrial function, DNA, morphology and recycling.

My research focuses on both trying to further the understanding of the causes of mitochondrial problems in neurodegenerative conditions and in vitro drug screening for molecules which rescue mitochondrial function in patient tissue.

The lab has also recently become interested in investigating these mitochondrial abnormalities in Alzheimer’s Disease patient derived cells. It is interesting to investigate the differing mitochondrial phenotypes between neurodegenerative diseases and the mechanisms by which they occur and potentially drive neuronal vulnerability.

Current projects

  • Targeting mitochondrial dysfunction with novel small molecules in Parkinson’s Disease and Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Repurposing of compounds for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease
  • LRRK2 and mitochondria – what is the connection?
  • Differing types of mitophagy in neurons
  • Targeting mitophagy with small molecules in Parkinson’s Disease
  • What are the metabolic abnormalities in Alzheimer’s Disease
  • Mitochondrial morphological abnormalities in patient derived models of Alzheimer’s Disease

Journal articles

Conference proceedings papers

  • Keatinge M, Trollope L, Mortiboys H & Bandmann O (2018) Acid sphingomyelinase deficiency rescues mitochondrial dysfunction in gba-/- zebrafish (Danio rerio). MOVEMENT DISORDERS, Vol. 33 (pp S615-S615) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Oliver B, Solman S, Keatinge M, DaCosta M, Mortiboys H, Sugunan S & Kuznicki J (2016) Inhibition of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) rescues dopaminergic neurons in pink1-/- zebrafish. MOVEMENT DISORDERS, Vol. 31 (pp S209-S209) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Liao C, Diot A, Ashley N, Morten K, Fratter C, Moroni I, Bianchi S, Lamperti C, Dombi E, Downes S , Sitarz K et al (2015) Dysregulated mitophagy and mitochondrial transport in sensori-motor neuropathy due to “Dominant Optic Atrophy” plus with OPA1 (Optic Atrophy 1) mutations. Neuromuscular Disorders, Vol. 25 (pp S185-S186) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bandmann O, Johansen KK, Aasly JO & Mortiboys H (2010) Mitochondrial Impairment in Manifesting LRRK2-G2019S Carriers. NEUROLOGY, Vol. 74(9) (pp A255-A255) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Flinn L, Mortiboys H, Volkmann K, Koester RW, Ingham PW & Bandmann O (2009) Complex I deficiency and dopaminergic neuronal cell loss in parkin-deficient zebrafish (Danio rerio). MOVEMENT DISORDERS, Vol. 24 (pp S135-S135) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Bandmann O, Klaffke S, Sleiman P, Wood NW & Mortiboys HJ (2008) Abnormal mitochondrial function and morphology in fibroblasts of patients with early onset Parkinson's disease and two parkin mutations. NEUROLOGY, Vol. 70(11) (pp A485-A485) RIS download Bibtex download
  • Mortiboys H, Thomas K, Klaffke S, Koopman W, Cookson M & Bandmann O (2008) Mitochondrial function and morphology in parkin mutant fibroblasts. MOVEMENT DISORDERS, Vol. 23(1) (pp S49-S49) RIS download Bibtex download
Research group

Postdoctoral Research Associates

  • Dr Fernanda Martins-Lopes
  • Dr Elizabeth Stephens
  • Dr Helen Rowland

Research Assistants

  • Aurelie Schwartzentruber
  • Tom Leah

PhD students

  • Christopher Hastings
  • Ruby Macdonald
  • Simon Bell
  • Katy Barnes
  • Rachel Hughes

My research is currently funded by Parkinson’s UK, MRC, Wellcome Trust, several industrial partners, Rosetree’s Trust and the White Rose Consortium.

Teaching activities

I teach in the MSc courses in Translational Neuroscience, Clinical Neurology and Molecular Medicine focussing on protein assay work and basic cell biology assays, the pathogenetic mechanisms involved in Parkinson’s Disease and critical review of the literature teaching.

I also teach on the undergraduate Biomedical Science course on the module the Biological Basis of Brain Disease.

I enjoy training and supervising MSc and BMedSci students during their research projects.

Professional activities

I am a member of the Parkinson’s UK grant review panel as well as the Patient Public Involvement Steering Group. I also sit on the Cure Parkinson’s Trust Review Panel.

I am external examiner for MRes courses at University of Newcastle. I regularly review for several funding bodies including MRC, Parkinson’s UK, BBSRC, Motor Neuron Disease Association.


Within Sheffield: Dr Laura Ferraiuolo, Prof Oliver Bandmann, Dr Kurt De Vos

Outside of Sheffield: Prof Sylvie Urbe (University of Liverpool), Prof Mike Clague (University of Liverpool), Dr Liz New (University of Sydney), Prof Joanna Poulton (University of Oxford)