Mount Sinai Careers
Trainee, Pharmacological Sciences
Ground breaking science. Advancing medicine. Healing made personal.
Roles & Responsibilities:
Our lab is currently conducting a computational and experimental study to compare Ca2+ sparks in cardiac myocytes with the analogous Ca2+ puffs in Xenopus oocytes. Sparks and puffs are stochastic cellular events that reflect release of Ca2+ through clusters of channels in the ER/SR membranes. Both of these phenomena are triggered by smaller events where individual channels open and can lead to larger events where Ca2+ waves propagate across an entire cell. This spontaneous cell-wide Ca2+ release acts as a pathological signal in cardiac myocytes but as a necessary physiological signal in oocytes. Although sparks and puffs have been extensively investigated both experimentally and computationally, it is still not well understood what differential mechanisms between sparks and puffs influence these divergent cell-wide physiological and pathological outcomes. We hypothesize that these differences can be understood by using quantitative analyses.
For this project, summer undergraduate students will assist in:
- Performing stochastic simulations of Ca2+ puffs and Ca2+ sparks from release units with different fundamental properties
- Using parameter sensitivity analysis to quantify how different molecular-level biological variables influence the observed event heterogeneity
- Studying the relationship between Ca2+ spark and Ca2+ puff transitions from local events to cell-wide Ca2+ waves
- Verifying modeling predictions experimentally
- Enrollment in a Bachelor’s degree program, majoring in Biomedical Engineering
- A strong quantitative background and some exposure to MATLAB is required
- Motivation and enthusiasm to engage in academic research and strengthening quantitative and computational skills are preferred
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