Supervisor: Jason Dyck
Project: How resveratrol can prevent damage of the heart from chemotherapy in children
Bachelor of Science with Honors in Physiology
What's been the best part of your experience so far?
I enjoyed being a member of a high caliber research team where I was permitted to gather, interpret and provide my own input towards the results of our study. In a relatively short period of time, the data I collected allowed me to see how our findings can translate to improving the quality of life in children.
How has your studentship helped you towards your career aspirations?
WCHRI not only funded me, but also offers various opportunities to network and meet other trainees, which is an important experience to have in this field. Being someone who intends to pursue a career in research and healthcare, my experiences have been immensely valuable. I was able to apply concepts learned in the classroom in a practical sense and understand how a successful research project is executed from start to finish.
Doxorubicin is an effective chemotherapeutic that is often administered to cancer patients, including children. Unfortunately, doxorubicin can cause heart problems in these young patients which can progress to a diseased state called cardiomyopathy later in life. Prior studies performed by our lab have shown that a naturally occurring plant-based compound, called resveratrol, can prevent the worsening of heart function in juvenile animal models when treated with doxorubicin. As of now, we are exploring a potential mechanism by which this may occur. More specifically, we wanted to examine the role of cardiac inflammation in this process, which can cause tissue damage and be attributed to disease states such as cardiomyopathy. Our results thus far have shown that resveratrol decreases cardiac inflammation in juvenile animal models treated with doxorubicin. Echocardiography results have further shown evidence of improved blood pressure and reduced detrimental changes in heart structure. With this new information, we now possess a deeper understanding of how resveratrol can prevent the worsening of both heart structure and function when treated with doxorubicin.