Melissa A. Luse, a PhD candidate in Physiology in the School of Medicine’s Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, was recognized with the Outstanding Graduate Student Award of the cardiovascular section at the American Physiology Summit held in California in April 2023. Luse’s oral presentation and Q&A segment at the conference, along with her curriculum vitae, scientific abstract and letter of recommendation, were the basis for her selection for this award.
Luse presented her project on how blood vessels take up and process lipids. She found a protein, caveolin-1, that creates an environment which stabilizes a fatty acid transport protein, Cd36 at the cell membrane allowing for lipid uptake in endothelial cells. This project encapsulated a single cell RNA sequencing experiment, human adipose microvascular endothelial cell culture, and a genetic mouse model where caveolin-1 was deleted specifically from endothelial cells in blood vessels. Melissa hopes to finish her project regarding endothelial metabolism in the next year as she completes her PhD.