Evan Phillips – PhD Student – IBSC Program

– I’m studying cardiovascular disease and, specifically, an experimental model of abdominal aortic aneurysms. And, so, an aneurysm is a
focal expansion of the aorta and this means that the wall is dilated beyond its normal size. And, when this happens, a lot of the time, the aorta can rupture and, obviously, lead to excessive bleeding. A lot of people can, unfortunately, not make it to the hospital fast enough, and so the probability
of death is very high. But the real issue with this disease is that many people who have an aneurysm don’t know they have one, ’cause there’s no obvious outward
signs or symptoms usually. And, so, that’s really promoted,
over last, I would say, 20 to 30 years, a lot
of preclinical research using animal models of the disease. But, just like with the human disease, there’s no obvious signs or symptoms that the animal has
developed one of these, and, so, that’s where a tool like high frequency ultrasound
is really, really valuable. And, we can, therefore, determine when an animal has developed
one of these aneurysms. The goal of my research is really to comprehensively
characterize what’s happening at the earliest stages of
aneurysm development in our model. And, going forward, this could, hopefully, be really useful
information for predicting disease development in the
human form of the disease and, perhaps, tailoring therapies that could be effective
for early intervention. (dramatic music)