• Project Title: Two Pronged Approach to Heart Disorders

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Murthy

  • Internship Location: Stanford University

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Francesca Briganti

Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) causes the pumping chambers of the heart to become enlarged,resulting in reduced pumping efficiency and host of symptoms: chest pain, fatigue, and ultimately heart failure. RBM20 is a protein that regulates the transfer of information encoded in our DNA to the production of proteins necessary for heart cells to contract normally and remain healthy. Consequently, patients with a mutated form of RBM20 exhibit a very severe form of inheritable DCM. In the Mercola Lab at Stanford University, we hope to establish an experimental protocol used to test a variety of therapeutics for RBM20-DCM and to understand exactly how medicines revert the diseased characteristics of a heart cell. We will create tools to identify each of the following characteristics of the RBM20 protein within the cell: where the protein is located relative to the nucleus, when it is produced by the cell, and whether it is fully functional. This project relies heavily on molecular cloning, a process in which I will manipulate circular segments of DNA to study how RBM20 interacts with a sample sequence of DNA. This research will further our knowledge of RBM20-DCM and opens the possibility of discovering an effective therapeutic for DCM patients. Through my presentation and heart health video series, I hope to spread awareness regarding DCM.