Nevan Powers Rose Hills
Investigating Molecular Mechanisms Behind the Loss of Mammalian Heart Regeneration
Any significant damage to our heart tissue results in permanent scarring and irreversible loss of function, but animals like newts and zebrafish can naturally replace the lost tissue and recover to a healthy state. Looking at trends between species, it appears that mammals may have evolved to lose regenerative potential as they acquired endothermy. Interestingly, we can see a similar trend in a single mouse. In its neonatal stage, a mouse can regenerate functional heart tissue, but loses this ability within a few days as its body temperature increases. This suggests that mammals may have an innate regenerative potential that is lost as the metabolic rate increases to meet the demands of endothermy. To explain the link between metabolism and regeneration, I will be identifying and analyzing potential molecular mechanisms that mediate crosstalk between the heart and thermogenic brown adipose tissue, alongside other metabolic organs. In parallel with this molecular approach, I will develop a new mathematical model to relate the metabolic output of a cardiovascular system to the regenerative capacity of its heart.