By Wendy Sarubbi | October 1, 2012 12:33 pm

At the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, Dr. Michal Masternak and his team have scored the equivalent of a hat trick in sports.

Dr. Masternak’ s lab racked up three accolades in September: a Polish Ministry of Health 2012 team award for research conducted by Dr. Masternak and colleagues from Poland; a supplemental grant from the National Institute on Aging; and recognition for lab student volunteer Andrew Do from the Burnett Honors College Research Scholars (formerly SMART) program. Here are the details:

  • The Polish Ministry of Health recognized Dr. Masternak and his colleagues Dr. Adam Gesing, Professor Malgorzata Karbownik-Lewinska and Professor Andrzej Lewiński (Medical University of Lodz, Poland) for a series of papers on apoptosis ( cell death) and mitochondria biogenesis  (basically, ensuring cell life) in dwarf mice. This research also focused on growth hormone receptor genes, insulin sensitivity and the role of fat on longevity. A better understanding of the mechanisms involved could lead to advancements in aging healthfully “We believe the growth hormone signaling is important,” said Dr. Masternak. “We can learn from   dwarf mice what regulates their longevity.”
  • Dr. Masternak received supplemental grants from the National Institute on Aging of $30,222 and $13,600 as extra support for a $670,618 grant (National Institutes of Health) to investigate the effects of a high-fat diet and visceral fat on insulin signaling and longevity in normal, Ames dwarf and GHRKO mice.
  • A senior majoring in biomedical sciences, Andrew was recently awarded a grant from Burnett Research Scholars, UCF’s undergraduate research program. His research project focuses on the effects of growth hormone on insulin signaling in dwarf mouse muscle tissue. Andrew and his mentor, Dr. Masternak, each received a $1,000 grant from the program.

Because he strives to exercise and maintain a healthful lifestyle, Andrew said he is particularly interested in helping find a cure for diabetes. Andrew said  he plans to attend medical school but wants to blend that career path with research.

“I’m doing what I love,” he said.

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