Request for Funding
Medical Student Research Fellowship for Summer 2011
All descriptions must contain enough detail to permit an assessment of the problem that is to be addressed and the methodologies that are to be employed. Please be careful to outline the role that the student will play in the project that is described. Please ensure that all relevant approval numbers (IRB, IACUC) are provided.
Mentor: Charles R. Rosenfeld, MD
Department: Pediatrics, Division of Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine
Room number: E3.302C
Mail Code: 9063
Phone number: 83903
Project title: Effects of Maternal Nutrient Restriction on BKCa Signaling in the Uteroplacental Vasculature of Mid- and Late-Pregnant Sheep
Human subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): NA
Animal subjects IRB approved project number (where applicable): NA, tissues provided by Dr. Steve Ford, Univ of Wyoming, Dept of Animal Sciences
Project Type (patient-based research, animal-based research, or basic research; this characterization is only to permit a general classification for grouping similar types of projects) basic research
Brief Description of Project:
During pregnancy there is a significant increase in uteroplacental blood flow (UPBF) in most species studied, especially during the last two thirds of the pregnancy when vasodilation contributes to a 4- to 5-fold rise. Sheep serve as an excellent model for human pregnancy and have been used to extensively study the mechanisms responsible for this rise in UPBF and the effects of maternal blood flow on fetal development and well-being. Using the sheep as a model, large-conducting Ca2+-dependent K+ channels (BKCa) have been shown to play an essential role in regulating basal UPBF in pregnancy, with vasodilators such as estrogen and nitric oxide modulating the activity of these channels via PKG. Notably, the BKCa also have been identified in the human uterine artery in pregnant and nonpregnant women. There are no studies to date examining the impact of maternal protein deprivation, which results in fetal growth restriction, on the role of BKCa on basal UPBF and its rise in the last third of gestation. We will investigate this by examining and comparing the expression of BKCa channels and related signaling pathways in uterine arteries collected from protein-deprived sheep with similar arteries collected from adequately nourished sheep. The summer student will participate in the analyses of these uterine arteries by performing western immunoblots, measuring protein contents and contractile protein expression, as well as analyzing data and contributing to the production of a manuscript.
Previous Research Activities or Publications with Medical Students:
Dr.Rosenfeld has mentored 15 medical students from UT Southwestern and other institutions. They have worked with him on either lab or clinical based research projects. Many have published manuscripts and/or presented research presentations at national or international meetings. Recent students include: