Emily Schultz, a fourth-year medical student and participant in a laboratory taught by Martin Gerdes, Ph.D., professor and department chair of Biomedical Sciences at NYIT College of Osteopathic Medicine (NYITCOM), presented research on heart failure at the Medical Student and Resident Forum Meeting of the New York Chapter of the American College of Physicians (NYACP). Her abstract, “Clinically Relevant Mouse Model for Study of Diet-Induced Atherosclerotic Myocardial Infarction and Heart Failure,” was one of only 136 accepted for the forum, which took place in November at Mount Sinai in New York City.
Schultz’ study demonstrated a more gradual and clinically relevant progression of occlusive coronary atherosclerosis (a hardening of arteries), enlargement of the spleen, myocardial infarction (heart attack), and heart failure following a moderate high-fat diet in mice presenting with genetic mutation. Viswanathan Rajagopalan, Ph.D., assistant professor at NYITCOM at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro (A-State), further developed and characterized the model, which was originally generated by MIT. “There are not many models available that cover such a wide spectrum of pathology in this lethal human disease,” he noted, explaining that a model such as this one will be helpful in investigating various stages of the disease and testing novel drugs at multiple time-points including early prevention.
Schultz became interested in the fields of cardiology and endocrinology after witnessing her grandfather suffer from the complications of diabetes, several of which were cardiac related. “Over the course of my medical school training, my interest in cardiology continued to grow and inspire me to pursue research throughout my clinical years,” she said. “I had the opportunity to become involved in several ongoing projects, including the clinically relevant heart disease model with Dr. Rajagopalan. When the opportunity presented itself, the importance of the study was quite evident to me.”
Ultimately, Schultz is interested in specializing in cardiology or gastroenterology, although she does plan to keep an open mind as she enters her first year of residency. “I have valued the opportunity to integrate my medical education with current research,” she said. “I have built a foundation for a future in medicine with the desire to incorporate evidence based practice into my clinical career.”