Cardiac Implications of Bipolar Depression Linked CACNA1C Gene Single Nucleotide Polymorphism – UROP Spring Symposium 2021

Cardiac Implications of Bipolar Depression Linked CACNA1C Gene Single Nucleotide Polymorphism

Rachel Dow


Pronouns: She/Her

Research Mentor(s): Todd Herron, Research Assistant Professor
Research Mentor School/College/Department: Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Michigan Medicine
Presentation Date: Thursday, April 22, 2021
Session: Session 6 (4pm-4:50pm)
Breakout Room: Room 7
Presenter: 4

Event Link


There is a connection that has been observed between cardiac functioning and Bipolar Disorder. This study focuses on understanding the functioning behind the CACNA1C gene mutation and it’s role in the cardiac function of patients with Bipolar Disorder. To produce accurate reactions of adult cardiomyocytes in response to these drugs we first propagated the human-induced pluripotent stem cell cardiomyocytes with Matrix Plus, a substrate that closely mimics the environment found in the human body. Next, we continue this propagation in 96 well plates and generating cardiac muscle tissue on which we tested certain drug therapies with voltage-sensitive dyes to measure their electrophysiological reaction. Next, we performed experiments on the effects certain medications have on the cardiac muscle we have propagated to better understand their effects on the cardiovascular system and the body. We hope to discover a way to create a personalized tool for bipolar patients in order to use our newly obtained knowledge of medications to prescribe them the safest drug possible. If we are able to properly understand the mechanisms behind the CACNA1C gene mutation and its role in cardiac function we could revolutionize the field of personalized medicine and medication screening by making the toxicity screening patient-specific, possibly saving or improving the lives of many bipolar patients whose lives are affected by their medications.

Authors: Rachel Dow
Research Method: Laboratory Research

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