On Wednesday 22nd November, 3rd year PhD student Gavin Robertson was invited to attend a British Heart Foundation Parliamentary reception at Westminster. The event was held in the Members’ dining room of the Houses of Parliament and was sponsored by Chris Green MP. This provided a great opportunity to promote our BHF-funded work in St. Andrews to MPs and fellow BHF researchers.
Our British Heart Foundation funded students Gavin Robertson, Amy Dorward (Pitt lab) and Amelie Sobczak (Stewart lab) took part in the 2017 Dundee Science festival hosted by the BHF. They volunteered at the BHFs family-orientated interactive pop-up lab “what’s it like to be a heart scientist?” Here they educated visitors on how the heart works, what can go wrong in heart disease, and the importance of looking after your heart. The event was a fun and interactive way to engage children into the world of medical research, as well as conveying information to adults about the vital work and research that the BHF carries out locally. They found the event to be very enjoyable and hope that it will inspire future heart research scientists.
The Pitt lab would like to welcome Amy Dorward to the group. Amy starts her 3 year BHF funded PhD studentship today. Amy will be looking at how zinc shapes calcium dynamics in ischaemic heart failure.
The Pitt lab would like to thank the BHF for highlighting our work as “breaking new ground” in the fight against heart disease in the 2017 annual report Scotland. We are grateful to the BHF for their continued support of our research.
Matrix mineralization is the process by which the skeleton forms and is maintained. Matrix vesicles (MVs) released from osteoblasts and chondrocytes serve to accumulate calcium and inorganic phosphate such that mineralization can take place. In a paper to be published in the FASEB Journal, the Stewart group (in collaboration with Prof Colin Farquharson, University of Edinburgh) propose the potential involvement of two enzymes, phospholipase A2 (PLA2) and ectonucleotide pyrophophatase/phosphodiesterase 6 (ENPP6), which may act together to generate inorganic phosphate from phosphatidylcholine in the MV membrane. Together they could produce phosphocholine, which in turn is a substrate for PHOSPHO1, an enzyme known to be essential for mineralization. The presented concept is backed up by various pieces of evidence; for example, both enzymes are expressed in mineralizing cells and it is known that phosphatidylcholine is broken down in MVs during mineralization. The paper, which will feature in a forthcoming issue, stemmed from a BSc(Hons) project that was researched by final year student, Darren Leong earlier this year.