Student: Dan Matasic, MD/PhD: Medicine, Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, University of Iowa
Faculty Advisor: Barry London, MD/PhD
Metabolic Regulation of the Cardiac Sodium Channel
Arrhythmias are irregular electrical impulses within the heart that lead to abnormal beats and in some cases sudden cardiac death. One of the main regulators of electrical activity within the heart is the main cardiac sodium channel, known as Nav1.5. Reduction of sodium current through Nav1.5 has been identified as a substrate for cardiac conduction disease and fatal arrhythmias in many cardiomyopathies. In addition, conduction disease and arrhythmias have been reported in astronauts during and after long-duration spaceflights. Recently, Nav1.5 function has been tightly linked to the cellular metabolic and oxidative state within the heart. My research focuses on studying these metabolic influences on Nav1.5 and leveraging the novel insights for the generation of therapeutics that may prevent arrhythmias due to Nav1.5 dysfunction. This research will help understand the heart’s electrical system allowing for the protection of astronauts and the success of extended exploratory missions.