Canine mitral valve disease research
I am a final-yearveterinary medicine student studying at the Royal Veterinary College. As partof the course at the RVC, all final years must complete a research project intoa topic of their choosing. I have a keen interest in medicine and understandingthe pathogenesis of disease on a molecular level, which led me to my projecttitled ‘Understanding how extracellular vesicles contribute to the progressionof canine mitral valve disease’.
For thisproject, a candidate-based approach was used to isolate EV-miRNA from canineplasma and compare the expression of 4 target genes, linked to the pathogenesisof MVD, across samples from patients at varying stages of disease. Resultsdemonstrated that significant amounts of EV-miRNA were isolated from allsamples with no difference according to disease stage. There were nosignificant differences in their expression according to stage of diseasehowever, there was a differential expression of each target.
Theseresults demonstrate that EV-miRNA is a good candidate for a novel biomarker. Agreater understanding of their role in cell signalling pathways associated withvalvular interstitial cell activation can help design novel therapies toantagonise those progressing diseases and mimic those with a protectivefunction. This project has provided the framework for future studies byperfecting experimental methods in working with such small quantities of RNAand would not be possible without the generous funding awarded by the AVTRW.
The DiamondJubilee Award provides a fantastic opportunity for all undergraduates with aninterest in research. Attending the 77th Annual Conference inEdinburgh has been thoroughly enjoyable and facilitated networking withscientists spanning a range of disciplines and professional backgrounds. Beingable to present my work to such an engaged, supportive audience has been an unforgettableexperience and has shown me what I am capable of.