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Conferences & lectures

How to mend a broken heart: the application of mitochondrial transplantation to rescue and repair damaged organs

A School of Health Colloquium

Date & time
Monday, June 19, 2023
3 p.m. – 4 p.m.

Registration is closed


James Donald McCully, PhD


This event is free


Wendy Kunin


7200 Sherbrooke St. W.
Room 2.115

Wheel chair accessible


Mitochondria play a prominent role in cellular homeostasis and function and are dependent upon oxygen uptake. Ischemia adversely modulates mitochondrial structure and function resulting in loss of cellular viability and organ dysfunction.

In this presentation we will describe a novel therapeutic modality, mitochondrial transplantation, that allows for the rescue of organ viability and function resulting from ischemia-reperfusion injury and discuss current and potential clinical applications.

Speaker Bio:

Dr. McCully is a Concordia University graduate. He received a B.A. in Political Science in 1975 and a B.Sc. in Biophysical Education in 1978.

Dr. McCully completed his graduate studies, obtaining a Ph.D. in Clinical Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the Banting Institute at the University of Toronto.

Following graduation Dr. McCully completed a two year medical fellowship residency in Clinical Biochemistry and Human Genetics at the Toronto University Health Network.

In 1991, Dr. McCully was recruited to Harvard Medical School and the New England Deaconess Hospital where he is Director of Cardiothoracic Surgical Research.

Dr. McCully’s lab is focused on the elucidation of the mechanisms and biochemical and molecular events contributing to myocardial cell death.

Dr. McCully’s research has led to the development of the novel therapeutic intervention, mitochondrial transplantation, that delivers cell-free, functionally intact mitochondria directly to the target tissue to significantly rescue organ function.

In 2014 Dr. McCully was recruited to Boston Children’s Hospital to apply his research with mitochondrial transplantation in the clinic, for the rescue of pediatric patients unable to recover from cardiogenic shock after ischemia-reperfusion injury.

This first human study showed that mitochondrial transplantation was safe and was able to rescue injured heart muscle in children who prior to mitochondrial transplantation were unlikely to survive.

These studies are now being expanded for treatment of stroke, genetic eye and muscle disease and organ preservation and transplantation in adults and children.

Dr. McCully is an invited speaker at scientific and medical conferences around the world.

His lab has collaborations in Canada, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Turkey, Australia and across the United States.

Dr. McCully has 234 peer reviewed publications and his work has generated 13 patents, which will benefit Boston Children’s Hospital.

Dr. McCully is a Fellow of the American Heart Association, a member of the American Physiological Association, the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, the International Society for Heart Research, the World Mitochondrial Society and is one of 6 inaugural Associate Members of The Society of Thoracic Surgeons.

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