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Program ID: Innovation Anthology #331
Program Date: 08/17/2010
Program Category: Health and Medicine, Science Communication

HYRS Program Mentors Student Heart Researcher

PROGRAM #331 INTERVIEW WITH EDWARD SPINK

MP3: 2.7 MB
Time: 3:03 Minutes

Intro: Edward Spink is a Grade 11 student from JH Picard High School who is participating in the HRYS or Heritage Youth Researcher Summer Program. There are 45 HYRS students across Alberta in 2010.

Edward Spink

CC: EDWARD TELL ME A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU ARE DOING HERE AT THE UNIVERSITY THIS SUMMER?

ES: Well I’m currently researching on energy metabolism of the heart and out of all the organs of the body, the heart is one that uses up its energy because it has to constantly pump blood all throughout the body. However the heart doesn’t have any energy reserves. So therefore it has to constantly burn both fatty acids and sugars to produce enough energy to keep it going.

So what I’m specifically looking at is a cardiac disease called cardiac hypertrophy and due to different causes such as high blood pressur, valve disease or even genetics, it can become enlarged. And because it’s enlarged it requires more energy to function because its less efficient at producing energy.

So what we’re first trying to look at is what exactly are the changes in the energy metabolism of these enlarged hearts, and what exactly are the key molecules that cause these alterationsof the energy metabolism in these hearts.

CC: SO WHAT ACTUALLY ARE YOU DOING IN ORDER TO FIGURE THAT OUT?

ES: So we looking different proteins, finding out the concentrations of them, and separating them and identifying them to see which ones are acting up and which ones aren’t.

CC: AND DID YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT THIS WHEN YOU STARTED ON THIS RESEARCH PROGRAM? OR ARE YOU LEARNING IT HERE IN THE LAB AS YOU GO?

ES: I’m learning it as I go. If you would have asked me what’s cardiac metabolism at the start of this program, I wouldn’t be able to say anything because I would have not known anything.

CC: NOW YOU ARE HERE AS A HIGH SCHOOL AND YOU ARE BEING FUNDED BY ALBERTA INNOVATES HEALTH SOLUTIONS AS PART OF THE PROGRAM TO HELP BRING YOUNG STUDENTS ALONG. WHAT GOT YOU INTERESTED IN EVEN APPLYING FOR THIS PROGRAM?

ES: I think mainly taking biology in high school. There’s a specific unit on the heart and I found that really interesting. I did well in that subject and I decided to apply for this because I thought it was a rare opportunity and I could get a better understanding about the heart.

CC: WHAT DO YOU SEE AS BEING THE BENEFIT OF BEING A PART OF THIS PROGRAM?

ES: Just being exposed to everything. All the lab stuff and learning about what subject you’re learning about at such an early age. I think the greatest benefit is the learning experience.

CC: YOU’RE PARTAKING IN THIS PROGRAM. WHAT MESSAGE DO YOU HAVE FOR OTHER STUDENTS YOUR AGE?

ES: For whoever is going into Grade 11 next year, I strongly recommend you apply for this program. You never know. Just being exposed to the different labs, you might find that this is what you want to do for the rest of your life. And you never know, you could be part of research team that ends up making the next big medical breakthrough. You never know until you’ve applied. It doesn’t hurt to apply.

CC: NOW THAT YOU ARE GOING THROUGH THIS PROGRAM, WHAT DO YOU THINK THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR YOU?

ES: Well I planned on going into engineering, but just being exposed to medical research right now has really developed my interest in going into medicine, so I think I will follow into medicine after engineering.

THANK YOU VERY MUCH EDWARD.

Thank you.

Edward Spink is a Grade 11 student from JH Picard High School who is participating in the HRYS or Heritage Youth Researcher Summer Program. There are 45 students across Alberta involved in the Alberta Innovates Health Solutions 2010 HYRS Program.

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