Dana-Rae Reguis Yadao M.Sc.
Dana is studying how type I diabetes activates specific pathways leading to mitochondrial dysfunction and subsequent development of vascular complications, with oxidative stress as the primary mediator. In particular she is interested in the prophylactic effects of the antioxidant metallothionein as well as aerobic exercise following diabetes-induced vascular damage. Given the prolonged oxidative stress seen in diabetes and the expected rise in ROS during exercise, we want to investigate whether the diabetic mice belonging to the exercise intervention group will exhibit greater metallothionein levels. In addition Dana will look at the association between this increase and the changes in oxidative stress markers and subsequent signs of tissue damage. Further, she is studying how the induced diabetes affects the mice ability to keep up with the control group as the aerobic exercise programme progresses.
Rashami Awasthi M.Sc.
The objective of Rashami’s project is to see if functional walking capacity (FWC) will improve four weeks after implementing a supervised in-hospital exercise program for colorectal cancer patients undergoing major abdominal surgery. Previous studies involving a prehabilitation and rehabilitation program have shown a decrease in FWC at four weeks after surgery compared to baseline. Her project will focus on assisting and improving the mobility of patients immediately after surgery to enhance their recovery process.
Fernando Fiscina M.Sc.
Fernando is using the streptozotocin diabetes model (T1DM), to investigate how a rise in blood glucose and/or a lack of insulin affect the morphology as well as vascularisation of fast (plantaris) and slow (soleus) rat muscle. In particular, he will investigate degeneration and necrosis of muscle fibers as well as changes in the extracellular matrix milieu. The goal is to determine alterations in matrix homeostasis, and to use these findings to design potential therapeutic targets, thus preventing extracellular matrix breakdown in the diabetic muscle.
Olivia Hanna Koury M.Sc.
The objective of Olivia’s project is to evaluate whether the popular low carbohydrate/high protein (LCHP) diet is safe. In particular, she will study the changes this diet induces in the smooth muscle cells found in the large blood vessels. Data previously obtained in a murine model shows that a LCHP diet given for 6 to 12 weeks results in higher fatty deposition in the vascular wall than occurs in a traditionally "high risk" western diet. This project is focused on trying to figure out if these lesions are reversible or not and exactly how the LCHP diet increases lipid deposition into the vascular wall. This data will be important for both the clinician and the patient in terms of the potential risks and of adherence to a LCHP diet. Information regarding the staging of the lesions will give insight as to whether these diets are worth the ultimate goal of weight loss.
Cynthia Rocha M.Sc.
Cynthia’s aim is to define how mitochondria are affected by Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), a class of macromolecules found in chylomicrons as well as low- and intermediate-density lipoproteins. ApoEs are essential for normal catabolism of triglyceride-rich substances and are, as such, determinants of lipid metabolism. Absence or structural mutations of ApoE will result in impaired plasma clearance of cholesterol and triglycerides. As a consequence, lipids will be shunted into non-oxidative pathways that ultimately disrupt normal cellular function leading to altered metabolic demands and damaging effects, in part due to this reprogramming of bioenergetics
Vanessa Salucci M.Sc.
Vanessa’s project addresses therapeutic angiogenesis as a treatment for ischemic heart disease. The idea is based on the premise that the development of new blood vessels can be augmented by exogenous administration of a specific growth factor. In particular she will focus on transient receptor potential cation channels as possible mediators of physiological stimuli to intracellular signals, thereby representing a very early event in vascular remodeling. In the long run, the goal of these studies is both relief of symptoms of coronary artery disease and improvement of cardiac function by increasing perfusion to the ischemic region
Jonathan Waysman M.Sc.
The main goal of Jonathan’s project is to explore the role of mitochondria in the pro atherosclerotic shifts that occur in vascular smooth muscle cells. The focal area of this research project involves clarifying whether the mitochondrial function/expression is a result of smooth muscle phenotype shifts or whether the changes in cellular metabolism induces conditions that promotes cellular dedifferentiation? This research project will provide important information regarding the function of mitochondria in the atherosclerotic process and if detectable changes in mitochondrial activity either influences or signals cell dedifferentiation
Katelin Gresty M.Sc.
The objective of Katelin’s project was to evaluate whether the popular low carbohydrate/high protein (LCHP) diet is safe for people who are trying to lose weight. In particular, she studied the changes this diet induces in the smooth muscle cells found in the large blood vessels. Data obtained in a murine model shows that a high protein/low carbohydrate weight loss program results in higher fatty deposition in the vascular wall than occurs than in a traditionally "high risk" western diet. The project was focused on trying to figure out if these lesions are reversible or not and how exactly these diets are responsible for increasing cholesterol uptake into the vascular wall.This data will be important for both the clinician and the patient in terms of the potential risks and of adherence to a LCHP diet. Information regarding the staging of the lesions will give insight to the physician as to whether these diets are worth the ultimate goal of weight loss.
Thomas Whitesell M.Sc.
Thomas project which was the main part of his master thesis had a focus on angiogenesis, the process of creating new blood vessels. To study this phenomenon he used an ex vivo assay based on aortic ring explants which, when placed in a matrix of collagen, stimulates proliferation and migration of endothelial cells. This assay was used to study the cation channel TRPV4, which is primarily found in endothelial cells. As endothelial cells undergo migration and proliferation in the first stage of angiogenesis initiation, TRPV4 is believed to be of strong importance. His findings could have important clinical applications, such as treating cancer and diabetic retinopathies, where blood vessel growth causes disease progression, and should be reduced. Conversely, in wound healing, or developmental issues, increasing angiogenic growth may be important, revealing that TRPV4 may be an important target in the development of novel therapeutic angiogenesis treatments.