Dayu Teng (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Lab PI: Shu Chien, M.D., Ph.D.
Undergraduate Institution: UCSD
Med-into-Grad clinical training area: Cardiovascular diseases
Main clinical mentors: Kirk Knowlton, M.D., email@example.com
Sotirios Tsimikas, M.D., firstname.lastname@example.org
Quote: “In addition to satisfying my own curiosity, an important responsibility of a biomedical engineer is to recognize, investigate and solve medical problems. Familiarity of diseases as they present at the bedside gives me more opportunity to identify clinically relevant problems, recognize the medical potential of technologies that I know about, and translate my work back into the clinic in the form of therapeutic advances”.
Rational for Med-into-Grad training: The focus of our research group is to elucidate the molecular mechanisms of the regulation of vascular functions, with a special emphasis on the transduction of mechanical stimuli, such as pressure and flow, into intracellular signaling and the ensuing gene expression and functional responses in health and disease.
Observing the vascular diseases on the bed side helps me relate our research to practice. With such experience, we are better equipped to translate our work into clinics.
Medical training and identification of medically-relevant research issues: The first month, I started in the Hillcrest Medical Center. I rotated in the Critical Care Unit, Cardiology Team in the morning and the Heart Station in the afternoon. I spent the second month in the Thornton Hospital, in the Catheterization and Electrophysiology Lab. During the third month, I returned to the Catheterization Lab in Hillcrest.
Among the many things I learned, the catheterization lab experience related to our research closely. Here, I observed what turbulent flow appears like in the bifurcation region of the blood vessel under fluoroscopy. The physicians also confirmed that the majority of the atherosclerosis lesions occur at the turbulent flow region. This phenomenon formed the basis our research to understand how flow patterns affect the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis.
One aspect of my research was to study the effects of hypothermia in preventing ischemia-reperfusion diseases in skeletal muscles. Interestingly, a clinical trial was being conducted to study the effects of hypothermia in acute cardiac infarction. I had observed three internal hypothermia procedures during my training. This is a very direct linkage between my research and the clinical applications.
Research collaborations: Because our research group focuses on the pathophysiology of the vascular system, our findings may lead to ways to prevent or treat vascular diseases such as atherosclerosis and restenosis. The interventional cardiology group is working with us to coat novel substances onto stents to reduce restenosis.
Long term impact: In addition to satisfying my own curiosity, an important responsibility of a biomedical engineer is to recognize, investigate and solve medical problems. Familiarity of diseases as they present at the bedside gives me more opportunity to identify clinically relevant problems, recognize the medical potential of technologies that I know about, and translate my work back into the clinic in the form of therapeutic advances.
Training in diagnostics & therapeutics, and identification of unmet diagnostic & therapeutic needs: Diagnoses of cardiovascular diseases depends more and more on imaging modalities. Technologies such as ultrasound, fluoroscopy and MRI provide crucial functional information for the physicians to make accurate diagnoses. The real-time molecular imaging technologies such as the src-FRET reporter developed in our lab have great potentials to significantly improve functional diagnosis. It is great to see various clinical needs and physicians’ interest in our work.
The revascularization of the occluded vessels is often achieved mechanically with angioplasty and through the use of stents. The vessels frequently respond to these mechanical stimuli with overgrowth that leads to thickening of the vessel wall and restenosis. Understanding the molecular bases of how vessels respond to mechanical stimuli carries great potential in improving angioplasty and stent treatments. This is an important focus of our lab.
Student-specific experiences: Forming good relationships with the attending physicians is very helpful in exchanging ideas.
Advice for new trainees--Autumn preparatory quarter: Learn the basic pathology and anatomy of the topic. Attending the grand rounds is very helpful. Basically, become familiar with the topic and the people you will be working with.
Advice for new trainees—Winter clinical training quarter: One of the barriers is your unfamiliarity with medical vocabulary. Getting a pocket dictionary and a terminology sheet will help. In the cardiology CCU rotation, the team is often under long and stressful working hours. Understanding their working pace is very important. Everybody is supportive of our learning. Do not hesitate to initiate conversations and ask questions. Also understand when the physicians have more urgent priorities.
Take home perspective on Med-into-Grad at UCSD: This has been a very positive experience. I would recommend it to anyone who is interested in understand more about diseases, and how they present are are treated in the clinical setting. This experience will help tremendously when translating our basic science work into practice.