Michelle Y. Hamline

     E-mail: haml0032@umn.edu

     Year Entered: 2004

     Degrees Received:
     University of Washington
     Biochemistry & Cell and Molecular Biology majors
     B.S., 2004

     University of Minnesota
     Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology and Genetics Graduate Program
     Ph.D., 2011

Honors and Awards:
-National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute National Research Service Award for Individual Predoctoral MD/PhD Fellows, 2009-2012
-American Heart Association Predoctoral Fellowship, 2008-2009
-American Association for the Advancement of Science Program for Excellence in Science, 2007-2009

Thesis Advisor: Vivian Bardwell, Ph.D.

Thesis Research: Mechanisms of cardiovascular development

Congenital heart disease (CHD) affects an estimated 35,000 newborns each year in the United States alone and is the most common birth defect to result in death during the first year of life. By definition, CHD results from a defect in early heart development, prior to an infant’s birth. In one form of CHD known as oculofaciocardiodental syndrome (OFCD), individuals lose or have a mutation in the BCOR gene, resulting in abnormal development of the heart and other organs. It is not currently known why BCOR mutations have such a dramatic effect on cardiovascular development, making it difficult to prevent or treat the cardiac defects observed in OFCD. Thus, my work in the Bardwell lab is focused on using molecular and biochemical techniques to understand how disruptions in the BCOR gene prevent proper development of the cardiovascular system in OFCD.

These studies will increase understanding of the events leading to proper cardiovascular development and, in doing so, will confer an awareness of the processes that are disrupted in cardiovascular developmental disorders, such as OFCD. Ultimately, the information gained from these studies could lead to potential drug or gene therapies to prevent the heart defects seen in OFCD and other forms of CHD.