URAP

Alexander Amram

Hormonal Signaling's Impact on Cardiomyocyte Regeneration

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, which makes understanding the ability of certain vertebrates to regenerate damaged heart tissue by replacing lost cardiomyocytes crucial for developing regenerative heart therapies. Recent studies suggest that the suppression of cardiomyocyte proliferation coincides with the augmentation of metabolic rates and thermogenesis post-birth in vertebrates, in part driven by changes in endocrine signaling hormones including thyroid hormone, glucocorticoids, and vitamin D. Glucocorticoid and vitamin D protein signaling are potential regulators of cardiomyocyte proliferation, but studies have found conflicting proliferative and suppressive effects of both, suggesting more studies should be conducted to clarify their roles in heart regeneration. Through my work with mouse colony management, modern sequencing, immunohistochemistry, authoring a review paper, and other experimental procedures I will investigate how vitamin D receptor and glucocorticoid receptor signaling affect the proliferative potential of cardiomyocytes in neonatal and adult mice in vitro and in vivo.

Message to Sponsor

To the Chadra Research Fellows and any other donors, I cannot express my gratitude for your donation. It enhanced my research experience tremendously as I was able to work full-time and cover any work related costs. Although I was unable to go in-person to the lab this Summer, I ended up becoming the first author of a review paper in the Endocrine Connections scientific journal titled Hormonal Regulation of Cardiac Regenerative Potential. It is not published yet, but as soon as it is, I hope you can read it and understand that was made possible in-part by your kindness. It has always been my dream to become a scientific author and contribute to the world of timeless scientific knowledge and now I can say I have done that. I hope you have been safe and well and will continue to champion the causes of other aspiring researchers and future world leaders moving forward. Sincerely, Alex Amram
  • Major: Molecular & Cell Biology: Developmental Genetics
  • Mentor: Guo Huang, UCSF