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Armin Hadzic


Research Assistant - Drug Discovery in Friedreich's Ataxia

Research Summary

Friedreich's ataxia is a rare disease which is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Mutations in frataxin, a mitochondrial protein believed to be involved in iron regulation, has been found to be sole responsible for the disease development. The estimated carrier frequency is around 1% in most populations, where 1 in 50000 may develop the disease. The clinical manifestations usually appear in early adolescence, targeting the nervous system and leading to the patient being wheelchair bound. No effective treatment has been found as of today, and a disease-modifying drug is crucial for people affected by Friedreich's ataxia.

The project in drug discovery for Friedreich's ataxia is a collaboration between the pharmaceutical company Pfizer, the patient organisation Ataxia UK, and the academic institutions in UCL, Imperial and Oxford. Together we aim to develop novel treatments for patients with Friedreich's ataxia.


I've completed a Bachelor's degree in Nutritional Sciences in Stockholm University, with my thesis project concerning the toxicological mechanisms of novel polyaromatic hydrocarbons. Prior to coming to Oxford I also obtained a Master's degree in Toxicology from Karolinska Institutet, where I investigated the role of ER-stress and protein trafficking on cancer drug resistance.