JABSOM medical student wins American Heart Association Scholarship in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke

John A. Burns School of Medicine (JABSOM) student Brandyn Dunn, a member of the MD Class of 2016, was awarded an American Heart Association Student Scholarship in Cardiovascular Disease & Stroke. Dunn’s application was entitled; “HIF Induced Cardiac RNA Splicing: A closer look at CaMKIIγ”.

According to his faculty mentor, JABSOM Assistant Professor Dr. Chad Walton of the Center for Cardiovascular Research (CCR), Brandyn is focusing primarily on clarifying the role of a transcription factor, HIF-1 in the heart, trying to define its function in repairing damage and conferring protection from heart attacks.

Brandyn has been specifically involved in determining the role of a protein, CamKIIγ, and how it is regulated by HIF. “Understanding the role of HIF in the heart in response to ischemia may lead to novel insights into molecular mechanisms and ultimately lead to the development of treatments for heart failure,” according to Dr. Walton.

Brandyn conducts his research in the CCR, located in the Biosciences Building (BSB) at Kaka`ako, under the direction of Dr. Walton and CCR Chair Dr. Ralph Shohet. He was encouraged to write an application for a summer scholarship to support his work by his mentor, Dr. Walton.

Dr. Walton hopes that the CCR can continue to provide a strong research basis for the medical students during their training. He encourages those interested in medical research to “search out” mentors.

Brandyn Dunn is going to be heading back to the Medical Education Building in about six weeks. He has been elected Class President for the second-year MD class, all of whom return to the rigors of problem-based learning on September 3rd.


Chad, left, with Brandyn outside the BSB.

More about Dr. Walton (Q and A)

What motivates you professionally?
Dr. Walton: “It is very easy to be motivated to conduct cardiovascular research, given the high prevalence of heart disease in the population.”
What have been your favorite jobs?
Dr. Walton: “I truly enjoy working with the diverse range of students in the laboratory; from high school students being exposed to their first research, to medical students looking to expand upon their new clinical knowledge. My other ‘job’ is a supporting role in my wife’s clinic, which provides behavioral programs for children with disabilities.”
Do you have any hobbies?
Dr. Walton: “Do-it-yourself” home projects and watching my twin daughters grow up.”



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