Anahi McIntyre at work with Dr. Lindon Young.
Anahi McIntyre (MS/Biomed ’18) is pursuing a concentration in research at PCOM. She graduated from Ursinus College in 2014, where she was a biology and Spanish double-major. Her future plans include attending medical school.
I work in the lab of Lindon Young, PhD, professor, microbiology and immunology, studying myocardial ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury, which is the result of decreased blood flow, and therefore oxygen supply, to heart tissue due to blockage of coronary arteries. Reperfusion, or restoration of blood flow, is necessary for survival but also initiates an inflammatory response resulting in injury. Currently, there is no effective therapy to significantly reduce cardiac injury during reperfusion. Our lab is testing the effects of a cell-permeable peptide inhibitor called protein kinase C epsilon peptide inhibitor (Myr-PKC ε-), given during reperfusion in isolated coronary environments subjected to 30 minutes of ischemia and 90 minutes of reperfusion. This project builds on previous research conducted in Dr. Young’s lab by evaluating a longer reperfusion period and dose-dependent curve. Our results suggest that Myr-PKC ε- effectively reduces infarct size and dose-dependently improves cardiac function.
I first participated in research as an undergraduate at Ursinus College. I was excited to contribute to the ever-expanding knowledge base of the scientific community. A unique project that required critical thinking and occasional trouble-shooting was a nice reprieve from the cookie-cutter lab classes in the science curriculum. That experience prompted me to pursue research as a graduate student as well.
From 2013-2014, I conducted cellular neurobiology research with Jennifer Round, PhD, at Ursinus College. The research centered on elucidating intracellular binding partners for Slitrks, a novel family of transmembrane proteins. In the fall of 2016, I began my current work with Dr. Young at PCOM, and continue to work with him this year for my research thesis.
I assist in conducting experiments using a modified Langendorff heart preparation for myocardial ischemia/reperfusion models and subsequent tissue staining and analysis. This model serves as an appropriate screening tool to perform additional in vivo experiments in the setting of I/R. I have also prepared posters for and presented our data at the Experimental Biology 2017 meeting in April; at PCOM’s annual Research Day in May; and at the 25th American Peptide Symposium in June. I plan to present additional research at the 12th Annual Peptide Therapeutics Symposium in October, and again at the Experimental Biology meeting in April 2018.
Coronary heart disease will remain a great threat to the population without novel approaches. Our promising results suggest that Myr-PKC ε- could be a treatment that could aid in clinical myocardial infarction/organ transplantation patient recovery. Myr-PKC ε- focuses on preventing damage, as it targets early events in an inflammatory cascade which ultimately leads to cardiac injury. I feel that Dr. Young’s research is forward-thinking and provides hope for future patients. According to recent American Heart Association statistics, over 700,000 heart attacks and 30,000 organ transplants occur annually in the U.S. Myr- PKC ε- has the potential to reduce the health care burden in the U.S. on a large scale.
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