Student: Rebecca Autenried, Graduate Student in Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa
Faculty Advisor: E. Dale Abel
The Role of Insulin Signaling in Pressure-Overload Heart Disease
Demands on the heart can change in response to high blood pressure, damage from ischemic heart attack, and zero-gravity space travel. While hypertrophic heart cell growth is initially adaptive to increases in pressure demands, when hypertrophy becomes irreversible people can develop heart failure. There are currently no preventative recommendations or pharmaceutical treatments for this type of heart failure because the intracellular adaptations are not fully understood. In addition, the body responds to dietary sugar by increasing the amount of the hormone insulin in the blood stream. Research shows that insulin affects the long-term responsiveness of the cardiomyocyte to environmental stressors, such as pressure overload. My work will build the knowledge that may lead to novel therapeutic strategies and improved heart-healthy dietary recommendations.
I am a fourth year MD/PhD candidate in the Medical Scientist Training Program at the University of Iowa. I will complete my MD in the Carver College of Medicine and my PhD in the Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Molecular and Cellular Biology. I will complete the dissertation work described in this fellowship with the mentorship of Dr. E. Dale Abel, MD, PhD, world-renowned for his scientific contributions to the field of metabolic heart disease. Long-term, I intend to develop the medical and scientific expertise necessary to advise NASA astronauts on what micro- and macro-nutrients they should prioritize taking with them during space travel so as to maintain their long-term heart health.