MATTHEW KERR (2015 - present)
Matthew Kerr has been chosen to present his work at the British Society for Cardiovascular Research’s autumn meeting, being held at the University of Leeds in September. Matt is a first year DPhil student on the BHF 4 year scheme working in the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics, under the supervision of Lisa Heather and Damian Tyler. Matt’s work is trying to understand why type 2 diabetes makes the heart energetically defective. Using magnetic resonance spectroscopy, he has shown that diabetic hearts have decreased ATP concentrations, for the same amount of cardiac work. Isolated mitochondria from diabetic hearts have decreased respiration on non-fatty acid substrates, which is rescued by addition of fats. However, when the mitochondria are respiring at their maximal rate, even the addition of fat cannot rescue the energetic defect in the diabetic mitochondria, indicating that they have reduced maximal capacity to respire. This energetic defect is accompanied by increased mitochondrial number in the diabetic heart, as a potential compensatory response. Matt’s future work will focus on investigating the causative factors for this energetic defect in the diabetic heart.