Jessica Reddy

Biological Sciences

Justin T. Zelones
Biological Sciences

From the start of her undergraduate education, Jessica Reddy has had an interest in cardiovascular physiology. She has immersed herself in her research experience, and has been excited by the opportunity to perform surgery, a rare opportunity for undergraduates. Jessica hopes to move on to graduate school, pursuing an M.D./Ph.D. path in cardiovascular biomedical engineering, with a goal of becoming a physician in that field. In addition to her classes and research, Jessica has volunteered at the Orange Coast Memorial Hospital, and has been a suture instructor for the UCI College of Medicine Camp Med program.

Justin Zelones saw an online abstract on cardiothoracic surgery and decided to apply for the undergraduate research position it offered. Working on ways to extend the length of donor heart preservation, Justin has enjoyed the hands-on aspects of his research—learning surgical techniques and applying them in the lab. He plans to become a physician and to continue doing research, in addition to having his own practice. Justin volunteers at Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center, and is a suture instructor for the UCI College of Medicine Camp Med program.
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Cold crystalloid ischemic storage is the method currently used for heart preservation. With this method, safe myocardial preservation time is limited to 4–6 hours, which restricts the geographic distance between donor and recipient to an approximate 500-mile radius. Due to these inherent restrictions, this preservation method prevents full access to the nationwide donor pool. Our laboratory has developed a method to extend cardiac preservation time using continuous perfusion with a 20 °C modified bovine polyethylene glycol hemoglobin (PEG-Hb) solution. Cardiac function has been restored in vitro to extirpated rabbit hearts that had been preserved for up to 24 hours. Our goal was to compare cardiac function in vivo of heterotopically transplanted hearts preserved by ischemic storage in cold crystalloid solution to that of hearts continuously perfused for 12 hours with a modified PEG-Hb solution. Measurements of heart rate, developed left ventricular pressure, maximum rate of contraction, and maximum rate of relaxation were obtained and assessed over a two hour time period following transplantation. Results demonstrate superior post-transplant cardiac function in hearts that underwent extended periods of perfusion preservation compared to those hearts subjected to short-term cold crystalloid storage. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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Faculty Mentor                                                                                                                

Jeffrey C. Milliken

School of Medicine

Our laboratory has been working for some time on methods to extend the time a heart can be safely outside the donor’s body before being transplanted to a recipient. Currently, the heart is limited to a few hours, which limits more specific tissue typing and the distance a heart can be transported. Additionally, some hearts are discarded because of uncertainty regarding their function. Prolonged preservation of the myocardium could ameliorate many of the time restrictions, allow for better donor-recipient matching, and perhaps even influence long-term outcomes. Participating in the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program has been a very rewarding for us, as we have had the opportunity to work with some outstanding students, many of whom have gone on to medical school and other research activities. triangle.gif (504 bytes)

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