Ran Huo

Ran Huo, PhD student, clinical pharmaceutical sciences

Scrutinizes heart's energy regulator

“In addition to all of her exciting dissertation work, Ran is a major asset to the lab and PSET department because of her vast and formidable skill sets. She is a tireless worker and always the first to volunteer assistance to everyone around her, within and outside the lab.” -Ethan Anderson, associate professor

Zhengzhou, China

Faculty mentor/advisor:
Ethan Anderson, PhD, associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences and experimental therapeutics, College of Pharmacy

What is your degree program and anticipated graduation date?
PhD in clinical pharmaceutical sciences, May 2024

Please describe your research:
My project is focused on prohibitins (PHBs), a mitochondrial protein that plays a crucial role in cellular growth, differentiation, and programmed cell death. Specifically, I aim to investigate how PHBs regulate mitochondrial energy production and gene transcription in both healthy and diseased hearts.

In simple terms, why does this research matter?
We discovered that PHBs are crucial for regulating metabolism in the heart. Additionally, we found that an absence of PHBs leads to higher glutamine metabolism, and a diet rich in glutamine improved heart strength in a laboratory setting.

How soon after starting at the University of Iowa were you able to participate in research?

How has being involved in research made you more successful at the University of Iowa?
I’d been involved in cardiovascular research during my master’s program, and I was excited to continue this in my PhD at the University of Iowa. This university is perfect for me because it has advanced research facilities and all the resources I need for my project. They have specialized labs dedicated to studying cardiac metabolism and the equipment I need. Working with experienced professors and researchers here has been a fantastic part of my academic journey. The University of Iowa encourages collaboration with plenty of meetings and seminars for sharing knowledge. These opportunities not only let me present my work but also promote teamwork with fellow students and faculty. Also, being part of research also helps me improve my critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which will be really important for my academic and professional development.

What are your career goals and/or plans after graduation?
I’m looking for a postdoc position to continue my research and work with leading experts in the field of cardiovascular research.

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