Year in Program: 5th
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio
Mentor: Dr. Tranter
American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship
My long-term research interest involves a comprehensive understanding and elucidation of key pathways, transcription/translation modifications, and the complex protein interactions involving cardiomyocytes in cardiac pathology, with the ultimate goal of contributing to the development of a therapeutic treatment for cardiovascular disease. My thesis focuses specifically on increasing our understanding of the underlying molecular mechanisms of the RNA binding protein Human Antigen R (HuR) in modulating the innate immune response following cardiac ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, and on identifying the therapeutic potential of HuR inhibition to preserve cardiomyocyte survival post-reperfusion. While cardiac expression of HuR has been shown to be increased within three days post-I/R and play a role in post-Infarct remodeling, the role of HuR in cardiomyocyte survival following I/R injury is poorly understood and therefore needs to be addressed. Recent findings have suggested that HuR modulates/stabilizes inflammatory factors such as IL-6, TNF-alpha, IL-B and others during I/R both in vivo and in vitro. Therefore, I am interested in HuR's role in modulating pro-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines post-I/R and the effects of inhibiting HuR via a cardiomyocyte-specific knockout or a novel small molecule inhibitor cell on cardiomyocyte survival and thus cardiac remodeling and function. In addition, I would like to pursue HuR's involvement in mediating macrophage/neutrophil infiltration to the myocardium post-I/R.