Undergraduate Research & Scholarships

Shea Khyeam L&S Sciences

In Vitro Analysis of Cardiomyocyte Binucleation in H9C2 Cell Line

Although animals such as zebrafish and newborn mice retain the ability to regenerate the heart post-injury, adult mammalians have largely lost this cardiac regenerative capacity. Consequently, a patient will irreversibly lose as many as a billion cardiomyocytes following a heart attack and suffer from permanently reduced cardiac function. Today, nearly five million Americans live with heart failurethis underscores the significance of our inability to regenerate myocardial tissue.
Most mammalian cardiomyocytes lose their proliferative and regenerative abilities because they undergo binucleation, terminal differentiation, and permanent withdrawal from the cell cycle postnatally. The mechanisms which control this transition, however, are still not fully understood. In fact, despite the amount of in vivo research, there is no in vitro model that has been comprehensively used to analyze endogenous regenerative mechanisms that partake in cardiomyocyte cell cycle arrest and binucleation. Thus, I plan to work with the H9C2 cell line to try to reproduce in vivo results, study cardiomyocyte binucleation mechanistically, and to establish whether it may be a viable in vitro model to study cardiac regeneration.

Message To Sponsor

I am extremely grateful to the Pergo Foundation for giving me this wonderful opportunity to immerse myself in full-time research this summer. Through this experience, not only have I grown a lot as a student researcher, but I have also reaffirmed my passion for research and solidified my decision to pursue a PhD degree after graduation. I have learned to appreciate all the setbacks that allowed me to take the time to troubleshoot and have also gained the confidence to openly speak about my work to others. Overall, this summer was undoubtedly a pivotal stepping stone in my research career and I cannot be more thankful for the support.
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Major: Molecular and Cell Biology & Nutritional Sciences
Mentor: Guo Huang
Sponsor: Pergo Fund
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