Pre-Conference Focus Day

Tuesday | April 27, 2021

10AM - 4PM EST | 5PM - 10PM CEST

Workshop A: Decoding SARS-CoV-2 Hijacking of Host Mitochondria in COVID-19 Pathogenesis

10am-12.30pm EST | 4pm - 6.30pm CET

SARS-CoV-2 harbors a lot of known unknown regions in the form of hypothetical open reading frames [ORFs] and the mechanisms underlying the disease pathogenesis is not clearly understood. We observe that distinct localization of viral RNA and proteins in mitochondria play essential roles in SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis and understanding the mechanisms underlying virus communication with host mitochondria is important. On the other hand, long noncoding RNAs [lncRNAs] are known to play a key regulatory role in the viral pathogenesis from endocytosis. We derived a hypothesis and asked whether the lncRNAs in the host are candidly associated with the viral proteins or any other host proteins which we believe are “trespassed” regulating SARS-CoV-2 pathogenesis.


The workshop entails the following talks and session in a nutshell:

  • Comprehensive Review of Coronavirus Regulation of Mitochondrial Structure & Function & Actual Data Presentation Describing Recent Publication
  • Identify the Known & Unknowns from SARS-CoV-2: Challenges & Implications on Annotation (Long Non-coding RNA)
  • A Deep Dive into PAGER SARS-CoV- 2 Databases
  • Mitochondrial Phylogenetics of World, the SARSCoV- 2 Pathogenesis & ACE2 relevance in COVID-19
  • Panel Discussion

Workshop Leaders:

Head shot of Dr. Jake Chen, PhD (Professor, Genetics), 2017.

Jake Chen
Professor of Biomedical Engineering
University of Alabama

Gyaneshwer Chaubey

Gyaneshwer Chaubey
Professor of Zoology (Molecular Anthropology)
Banaras Hindu University

Prashanth Suravajhala

Prashanth Suravajhala
Senior Scientist, Department of Biotechnology & Bioinformatics
Birla Institute of Scientific Research

Keshav SINGH

Keshav Singh
Joy & Bill Harbert Endowed Chair & Professor | Scientific Founder & Chief Scientific Officer
University of Alabama | Yuva Biosciences

K Satyamoorthy

Kapaett Satyamoorthy
Professor & Director
Manipal School of Life Sciences, MAHE

Workshop B: Mitochondrial Changes Key to Health Problems in Space

1.30pm - 4pm EST | 7.30pm - 10pm CET

Systems Biology Approach Reveals Mitochondrial to be Driving Health Risks Associated with Spaceflight

  • Multi-omics approach utilized to examine universal key biological changes that occur during spaceflight
  • The analysis revealed mitochondria being potential systemic master regulator causing key downstream changes due to spaceflight that contribute to increased health risks.
  • Multiple pathways regulated by mitochondrial during spaceflight is also impacted which include: circadian rhythm, immune suppression, lipid accumulation, fatty acid metabolism, and olfactory pathways.
  • Astronaut physiological and NASA Twin Study data utilized to confirm results.


Cell-free mitochondrial DNA (cf-mt-DNA), cell-free DNA & Exosome Profiling from a Year-Long Human Spaceflight Reveals Circulating Biomarkers

  • Learn how liquid biopsy can monitor the health conditions of astronauts during spaceflight
  • Examine increases in cell-free mitochondrial DNA and how they were found during spaceflight
  • Discover how post-flight astronaut blood had exosome increases and brain-derived peptides
  • Study how controls for sampling from the ISS can correct for technical noise


Panel Discussion

Workshop Leaders:

Daniela Bezdan

Daniela Bezdan
Research Associate | Co-Chair | Co-Chair
University Hospital Tuebingen | NASA GeneLab Microbiome | ISSOP


Portrait; Sylvain Costes, Space Biosciences Division (Code-SC)

Sylvain Costes
GeneLab Project Manager & Principal Investigator, Acting Branch Chief of Space Biosciences Research Branch
NASA Ames Research Center


Deanne Taylor

Deanne Taylor
Director of bioinformatics, Department of Biomedical & Health Informatics
The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia


Afshin Beheshti

Afshin Beheshti
Bioinformatician & Principal Investigator