• Project Title: Causes of a Broken Heart: Analyzing the Effects of Sirtuin-6 on CAVD

  • BASIS Advisor: Dr. Brown

  • Internship Location: Mayo Clinic

  • Onsite Mentor: Dr. Jordan Miller

The heart is the single most important organ in sustaining human body functions. The majority of blood is pumped through the aorta to the rest of the circulatory system. But what happens when blood flow significantly decreases? Other vital organs do not receive enough oxygen, causing them to fail. Caused by old age and/or unhealthy eating, Calcific Aortic Valve Disease (CAVD) calcifies the aortic valve, narrowing it and inhibiting blood flow. CAVD affects around 3 million people in the developed world, naming it the most common valvular heart disease in the aging population. Other than expensive and complicated surgical aortic valve replacements, there is no cure for CAVD. However, Sirtuin-6 (SIRT6) is a protein deacetylase that has been proven to function in pathways related to aging. Through my project, located at Mayo Clinic, I am examining the specific effects of SIRT6 on CAVD. I am to determine this effect by examining aortic valve cusp separation distance, calcium burden, and osterix protein levels in both young and old mice. By conducting this research and writing the research manuscript, I hope to contribute significant discoveries to the scientific community.