Dr. Mnatsakanyan is currently an Associate Professor at the Department of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine. Dr. Mnatsakanyan obtained her Ph.D. from Yerevan State University and performed her postdoctoral work at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center. As a postdoctoral fellow, she studied the catalytic mechanism of the ATP synthase and characterized the important structural unit, beta DELSEED loop region of the ATP synthase that couples ATP synthesis with subunit rotation. Dr. Mnatsakanyan's current research focuses on understanding the molecular mechanism and regulation of the enigmatic cell death channel located in the mitochondrial ATP synthase and its role in mitochondrial permeability transition (mPTP). The goals in her lab are threefold: 1) Identify and structurally characterize the molecular components of mPTP by using cryo-electron microscopy and cryo-electron tomography. 2) Functionally characterize the ATP synthase leak channel and its regulation by using electrophysiology techniques, patch-clamp and planar lipid bilayer recordings. 3) Generate CRISPR/Cas9-edited mice with the low probability of ATP synthase leak channel/mPTP opening and introduce these mutations in transgenic Alzheimer's disease (AD) mice to study if they will protect the mice from the onset of AD-like features. We hypothesize that this mouse will be protected from degenerative diseases of heart and brain. These studies may lead to the structure-based drug design of specific therapeutic compounds for the treatment of mPTP-related neurodegenerative disorders, aging and cancer.