Local Mito Specialists
Seattle Children's is adding resources and building a team of some of the world's leading experts in mitochondrial diagnosis, treatment and research. Experts include:
- Russell Saneto, DO, PhD, one of the country's leading experts in mitochondrial diseases and the only specialist focusing on pediatric epilepsy associated with mitochondrial diseases.
- Sihoun Hahn, MD, PhD, a nationally renowned biochemical geneticist and a leader in diagnosing complex mitochondrial diseases and similar genetic conditions.
- Philip Morgan, MD, an internationally known mitochondrial researcher and expert in pediatric anesthesia.
- Margaret Sedensky, MD, a national leader in research on the genetic basis of mitochondrial diseases.
Dr. Russell Saneto, D.O., PH.D., Associate Professor
"We're fighting to improve treatments for children with mitochondrial diseases to give them a better quality of life and help families be families again."
Families that are dealing with mitochondrial disease are very fortunate to have one of the leading mitochondrial specialists in the country right here in Seattle. Dr. Russell Saneto is part of the University of Washington's School of Medicine; Pediatrics Department and is part of the Division of Neurology that is based at Children's Hospital and Regional Medical Center.
Dr. Saneto's clinical interests are in the areas of epilepsy, EEG-video telemetry and mitochondrial disorders. His area of focus for research is the detection and treatment of pediatric epilepsies caused by mitochondrial disease. Dr. Saneto is boarded in Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics and in Neurology, with special emphasis in Child Neurology by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology.
Prior to coming to Seattle, Dr. Saneto did his pediatric residency, pediatric neurology fellowship and pediatric epilepsy fellowship at the Cleveland Clinic after completing medical school in three years and graduating from Des Moines University, School of Osteopathic Medicine and Health Sciences in 1994.
Prior to going to medical school Dr. Saneto received his PhD in human biochemical genetics at the University of Texas and did a postdoctoral fellowship in developmental neurobiology at UCLA. He also spent time as an assistant professor in Cell Biology and Anatomy at Oregon Health Sciences University.
Dr. Saneto joined Children's Hospital and the University Of Washington School Of Medicine in the fall of 2001 and he is one of less than 50 doctors around the country that is focusing on mitochondrial disease and is the only doctor focusing on pediatric epilepsy associated with mitochondrial disease.
Dr. Saneto became interested in mitochondrial disease while a pediatric neurology fellow at the Cleveland Clinic as his mentor (Dr. Bruce Cohen) was interested in this disorder. Currently, he is actively involved in the Mitochondrial Medicine Society, serving both as the Secretary and Treasurer as well as on the Mitochondrial Medicine Society's committee on diagnosis.
Dr. Saneto's dream is "an established mitochondrial center to undertake the diagnosis and treatment of our patients. This would enable us to help our families in more ways than just treating the symptoms their children manifest."
For additional information on The University of Washington School of Medicine Neurology program please go to http://www.peds.washington.edu/divisions/neuro/neuro.asp.
For additional information on Seattle Children's neurology program please go to Neurology | Seattle Children's.
To contact Dr. Saneto directly please email him at
Dr. Sihoun Hahn, MD, PH.D., Professor
"My dream for my work with mitochondrial disorders is to continue to find ways to treat them more effectively. We are also working to develop a newborn screening program that will allow children to start treatment before they become ill."
Dr. Hahn joined the faculty at the University of Washington as a professor of pediatrics and attending at Seattle Children's as head of biochemical genetics program in the division of genetics and developmental medicine and the director of biochemical and molecular genetics laboratory, and R&D laboratory. Dr. Hahn hails from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, where he was an associate professor of pediatrics, medical genetics, laboratory medicine and pathology and co-director of the biochemical genetics laboratory.
Dr. Hahn is board certified in pediatrics and medical genetics - clinical genetics and clinical biochemical genetics. He received his MD, PhD from Korea University College of Medicine in Seoul, Korea. After finishing his residency in pediatrics at Korea University Medical Center, Dr. Hahn enrolled in medical Genetics fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland where he was the recipient of a National Research Service Award.
Dr. Hahn's research has focused on mitochondrial disease and he will be furthering his research at Children's on mitochondrial disorders, for which he already developed an assay that quickly determines if the disease is present. Dr. Hahn is also very excited at the prospect of a clinical trial into peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonist medication as a potential therapy for mitochondrial disease and development of DNA tests using microchip technology.
Looking forward, Dr. Hahn hopes to improve clinical practice through integrated laboratory testing - true translational research. He remains a great believer in prevention: identifying illness and providing interventions to patients before symptoms appear is always preferable to treating developed disease. He envisions someday we might have newborn screening available for mitochondrial disorders.
Dr. Philip Morgan, MD
"My dream in moving to Seattle is to help form a strong group of physicians and researchers for the study of mitochondrial disorders and their treatment. This is an exciting time for such work, because we are now getting the tools necessary to help insure greatly improved care for mitochondrial patients."
Seattle Children's are most happy to welcome Dr. Phillip Morgan to Seattle. He is an internationally known mitochondrial researcher and expert in pediatric anesthesia. Dr. Morgan is an Attending Anesthesiologist at Seattle Children's as well as a Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Washington. Additionally, he is a member of the Center for Developmental Therapeutics.
Dr. Morgan's research has been focused on the mechanisms that determine sensitivity of mitochondria to anesthesia. Children with mitochondrial disorders have a high likelihood of undergoing a surgical procedure at some point in their treatment, often coupled with complications from anesthesia. One of Dr. Morgan's major research aims is to help tailor anesthesia by dosage and type to provide the lowest dosage possible for children with mitochondrial diseases.
Seattle Children's mitochondrial patients undergoing procedures requiring anesthesia have already experienced Dr. Morgan's dogged commitment to their best possible outcome. Families credit his compassionate concern and willingness to individualize anesthesia to their child's condition with allaying much of the anxiety connected with surgery.
"I am committed to the safe and compassionate care of children, a goal deeply shared by all of my colleagues at Children's."
Dr. Margaret Sedensky, MD
"I dream of Children's Research Institute becoming a world class academic center of mitochondrial research. I believe that the level of commitment to move to Seattle shown on the part of our whole lab is indicative of our belief in what is possible here at Children's."
Seattle Children's Research Institute is pleased and proud to welcome Dr Margaret Sedensky and her lab to Seattle. Dr. Sedensky is a nationally renowned biochemical geneticist and a leader in diagnosing complex mitochondrial diseases and similar genetic conditions. She is a Professor of Anesthesiology at the University of Washington and a Member of the Center for Developmental Therapeutics.
Dr. Sedensky's lab has had a longstanding interest in anesthetics and the role of mitochondria in determining different aspects of behavior, including sensitivity to anesthetics. Her current research includes studies to better understand whether children with mitochondrial dysfunction are more sensitive to gaseous anesthetics. She also plans to study whether particular intravenous anesthetics are safe in children with mitochondrial disease.
Working in close partnership with her husband, Dr. Phil Morgan, who is an attending anesthesiologist at Seattle Children's Hospital, her work is genuinely "translational research." This means her research is "translated" into real therapies for real patients. Mitochondrial patients undergoing surgical procedures requiring anesthesia are already benefiting from changes in procedures based on this research. Dr. Sedensky's goal is to ultimately prevent unexplained poor outcomes post-anesthesia for patients with mitochondrial disease.
"I think the possibilities for improving the care of patients with mitochondrial disease are huge. No one understands day to day care of these patients better than their families, which is why the input of the Guild is so important to us. It really will take a concerted effort on the part of all of us to make my personal hopes a reality."
For additional information on how you can help please contact Tricia Bertsch at
Steve Serex at