Name: R. Mark Payne
Title: MD Indiana University School of Medicine, Dept. of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Cardiology, Wells Center for Pediatric Research, Indianapolis, IN.
How long have you been working on FA and who was the first fellow FA researcher you met? I‘ve been working on FA since about 2001, when I was faculty at Wake Forest Univ. School of Medicine. Ron Bartek was the first person from FARA that I met when he came down to meet me at Wake Forest. He helped me get started in FA, introduced me to FARA and helped me win a FARA seed grant, and introduced me to Helene Puccio. Helene graciously shared her FA mice with me to let me test a drug for FA. As a result of this support, I changed the direction of my research to focus on FA and I have remained in the field ever since.
What got you interested in FA research? It was a result of my earlier training. During my postdoctoral work as part of my pediatric cardiology fellowship at Washington University in St Louis, I became interested in how proteins target and are imported into mitochondria. The lab that I trained in was directed by a pediatric cardiologist, and this influenced my research career. He had a focus on how mitochondrial dysfunction caused sudden infant death in young children. As a cardiologist I was interested in how defective mitochondrial function contributed to poor heart function in children with heart disease (cardiomyopathies).