Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver
2 years of college, or some medical school
Number of Openings: 1-2
To clarify the signaling mechanisms responsible for abnormal gene regulation secondary to metabolic stress and the contribution to cancer and diabetic complications.
In normal metabolism, insulin is a metabolic hormone, but it is also a tyrosine kinase growth factor and can promote cell proliferation and transformation. This may play a role in the increased incidence of cancer in hyperinsulinemic individuals with non-insulin dependent diabetes. The focus of this laboratory is to delineate the changes in gene regulation dictated by chronic exposure to metabolic stress (diabetes, aging, dylipidemia) that lead to exaggerated proliferative responses contributing to atherosclerosis and cancer. Cardiac and vascular complications of diabetes (atherosclerosis/pulmonary hypertension) are examined.
Students will work on a project that can be completed during the fellowship. Such a project could include assessment of a specific signaling cascade, i.e., MAP kinase as it relates to insulin regulation of a specific transcription factor in CREB, ATF-2; the impact of oxidant stress on CREB degradation; or assessment of mitochondrial function as a modulator of survival and phenotype. Techniques to be employed include transient transfection, cell culture, SDS-PAGE electrophoresis, immunohistochemistry and immunoblotting. Student will be educated on all aspects of lab safety and will be versed in the physiological relevance of each project to human disease.