MSc(Res) Graduate student
In 2019, I graduated with a first class Bachelors in Medical Sciences where my interest in cardiovascular research began. My third year project consisted of a literature review and some dissections of a human heart looking in to the causes and therapies for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
After graduating, I started working as a research assistant in cardiovascular diagnostics. During that time I became interested in the novel biomarker, sST2, and its potential value as an indicator of outcome after myocardial infarction (MI). IL-33 is the functional ligand for ST2L, the transmembrane form of ST2, that activates a cardioprotective signalling pathway as a response to tissue damage. In the event that cardiomyocytes are under physical stress, the soluble form of ST2 (sST2) is released in to the bloodstream and acts as a decoy receptor that binds IL-33. This prevention of IL-33/ST2L signalling causes adverse remodeling like hypertrophy and scarring. Troponin is currently the gold standard biomarker for MI diagnosis, but it degrades around 48 hours after release. Some recent literature gives evidence that there may be value in measuring sST2 alongside troponin to add more information and therefore robustness to care plans for patients post-MI.
For my project within the Smart group I am developing a duplexed immunoassay for sST2 and troponin, with the aim to establish whether there is a correlation between sST2 and troponin in human clinical plasma samples of those diagnosed with MI. I am also exploring the effects of sST2 expression after injury in a cell model. My thesis will discuss the potential benefit of serial sST2 measurements after MI.