Patrick Ernst, PhD
Post-doc scholar, Translational Research Development Program
Cardiovascular Division, School of Medicine
Primary mentor: Forum Kandar, Medical School
Additional mentor: Brenda Ogle, College of Science and Engineering
Project: Mitochondrial Dysfunction and Calcium Handling in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy
Born and raised in the Twin Cities, I went to Gustavus Adolphus College to study physics. While I loved it, after a summer internship at the now-decommissioned Soudan Underground Lab I realized that I ultimately wanted to do research that was more hands-on and that I could more quickly and easily see the results of, so I applied to grad school. I got my PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where I developed, characterized, and utilized genetic tools for studying mitochondrial dysfunction under the mentorship of Dr. Lufang Zhou. Particularly, using mitochondrial-targeted optogenetic genes to disrupt mitochondrial function with high spatiotemporal precision, with applications in both anti-cancer therapy and heart failure development. Now I am a postdoc with Dr. Forum Kamdar using stem cells and 3D engineered tissues to study aspects of heart failure in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, with strong focus on cardiac calcium cycling and mitochondrial dysfunction.