Student assists heart research for summer project

Kersey

A biomedical engineering major from Trine University assisted on a research project this past summer that seeks to transform scar tissue following a heart attack back into healthy tissue.

Anna Kersey, a senior from Clinton, Michigan, took part in a 10-week project as part of the University of Michigan’s Frankel Cardiovascular Center Undergraduate Fellowship Program.

“I’m looking into the University of Michigan’s graduate program, so it was a top pick for me,” she said.

Working in the lab of Dr. Zhong Wang, assistant professor of cardiac surgery, Kersey tested samples of mouse heart tissue that had been treated with a BRD4 degrader. BRD4 is a protein that preserves the memory of cells, and the researchers found that by inhibiting the protein, they were able to improve the transformation of scar tissue into healthy tissue.

“It was an intense, exciting program that was really beneficial in helping me decide what I want to pursue after graduation, specifically in terms of my research interests,” Kersey said. “I got a feel of what it is like to be a Ph.D. student in a lab.”

At the end of the 10 weeks, the 25 members of the research group gave a presentation on their project.

Photo: Anna Kersey, left, stands with members of the laboratory group she worked with this summer.