What We Do in the Lab
Regulation of mTOR activation during acute increases of heart work:
The role of endogenous substrates - Anja Karlstaedt, MD, PhD
Rapid metabolic adaptations are required to support cardiac function during acute hemodynamic stress. These include the integration of nutrient signals and cellular signaling pathways. Previously, our lab showed that carbohydrate metabolism regulates the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) through glucose 6-phosphate (G6P). To test the hypothesis that mTOR activation may be dependent on the extracellular concentration of glucose we conduct isolated working rat heart perfusions with subphysiologic (3-2mM) and physiologic (5-4mM) levels of glucose to assess metabolic and contractile responses to an increase in cardiac work. In parallel, we are performing in silico simulations using a mathematical model of mammalian cardiomyocyte metabolism. Metabolic flux rate changes and cardiac metabolic responses were further analyzed utilizing CardioNet. We hypothesize that cellular energy homeostasis can be maintained by amino acids during an acute increase in heart work, which may account for the direct relation of G6P and mTOR activation.
Biobank and Ex Vivo Heart Perfusions - Hernan Vasquez, PhD
Hernan is the resident perfusionist of the lab and works on the data analysis and organization of tissue, plasma, and serum samples from LVAD patients (biobank) in collaboration with Dr. O. Howard Frazier and the Cardiac Transplant Program at the Texas Heart Institute. He is currently assisting with other projects, but is working towards a project dealing with metabolic and genetic markers of heart failure. In addition to this, Hernan manages the lab inventory and ensures everything in the lab is working properly.
Small Animal Surgeries and Ex Vivo Heart Perfusions - Patrick H. Guthrie, BS
The most senior member of the lab, with the exception of Dr. Taegtmeyer, Patrick is the original heart perfusionist. Patrick is currently assisting everyone with their projects, which includes the preparation of assays, reagents, and buffers for experiments.
Microscopy, Animal Care, and Mouse Cardiomyocyte Isolations - Rebecca L. Salazar, BS
Rebecca is specialized in the isolation of adult and neonatal mouse cardiomyocyte isolations. She helps in the care and maintenance of mouse colonies. Rebecca is also a specialist in imaging cardiomyocytes, which includes H&E and immunofluorescence staining.
Administrative Assistance and Office Support - Dolly Fernandez, MA
Dolly provides administrative support to Dr. Taegtmeyer and all lab members, including manuscript preparation and submission, grant application preparation, grant funds management, among other tasks. Her education and experience in the field of journalism and organizational communication is a plus when assisting the lab/office in these matters. Dolly joined the lab in June 2015.