Centre for Health and Bioinformatics


Professor Robert Lightowlers

Deputy Director Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research and Professor of Molecular Neuroscience



  • B.Sc. Biological Sciences University of East Anglia (1983)
  • Ph.D in Microbial Genetics, JCSMR Australian National University (1988)

Previous Positions

  • Director, Institute for Cell and Molecular Biosciences, Newcastle University  (2011 - 2019)
  • Professor of Molecular Neuroscience, Newcastle University (2000- )
  • Lister Institute Research Fellow, Newcastle University (1991-1996)
  • Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Institute of Molecular Biology University of Oregon, Eugene Oregon USA (1988-1990)

Prizes and Awards

  • Lister Institute Research Fellowship (1991-1996)
  • Henry Wellcome Commemorative Award for Innovative Science (1997) 
  • Erskine Fellowship (New Zealand, 1998)
  • Cenci-Bolognetti Visiting Professorship (Rome, 2011) 



Research Interests

My main research interest is mitochondriology in health and disease. This broad interest encompasses the spectrum of research covered by our Wellcome Centre for Mitochondrial Research. Currently, I have projects that focus on the molecular aetiology of mitochondrial disease, treatment regimes for these disorders, mitochondrial genetics and a large concern in mitochondrial gene expression in man. Most recently, my colleagues and I have been establishing methods to visualise nascent mitochondrial protein synthesis using super resolution nanoscopy.

Further details 


 We are currently advertising for Ph.D students, postdoctoral students and scientific officers in the area of mitochondrial gene expression and its role in disease. If anyone has an interest in this area, please contact me by email (robert.lightowlers@ncl.ac.uk) or by 'phone for informal discussions (01912228028) 


  •  Programme Leader, MRes in Neuroscience

                Module leader, Scientific Basis of Neurological Disease 

  • Supervisor/co-supervisor currently for 9 Ph.D students