Mitochondria control cell metabolism by converting nutrients into an electrochemical gradient of protons (H+) across the inner mitochondrial membrane (IMM) to generate ATP, the currency of the cell, and heat (a process called mitochondrial thermogenesis). This energy conversion depends on H+ leaks across the IMM. A fine balance of H+ distribution between the two energy production forms, ATP and heat, defines the metabolic homeostasis of the cell. How mitochondria distribute energy between ATP and heat is certainly the most fundamental question in the field of bioenergetics, although it is still largely unknown. Our lab will explore the mechanisms of bioenergetics using the novel mitochondrial patch-clamp assay combined with modern cellular and molecular techniques with the goal of providing a fundamental understanding of how energy production and basal metabolism control physiology.