Mey Boukenna

MD-PhD Student

My goal is to investigate the potential role of TRPM4, a Ca2+ activated monovalent cation channel, in non-cardiomyocytes of the heart.

I am a medical doctor and PhD candidate at the University of Bern, supported by the SNSF (Swiss National Science Foundation) and the SAMW (Schweizerische Akademie der Medizinischen Wissenschaften) through their MD-PhD stipend. I was first trained in research in the laboratory of Prof. Dennis Brown, director of the MGH Program in Membrane Biology (PMB) at Harvard Medical School. I was so fascinated by the idea of linking fundamental research with clinical questions that I started my PhD in parallel to my medical studies a few months after I came back.

My current research focuses on TRPM4, a Ca2+ activated ion channel, permeable to monovalent cations. Its expression has been shown in the heart, more precisely in cardiomyocytes, as well as in a wide range of other organs such as the colon or the nervous system. In the heart, TRPM4 seems to be involved in physiological endurance-enduced cardiac hypertrophy, as well as cardiac remodeling. Numerous studies demonstrated that TRPM4 plays a functional role in the Ca2+ homeostasis of many immune cells such as dendritic cells, mast cells, monocytes and T lymphocytes, but also in endothelial cells and fibroblasts. Since most of these cells are crucial cell populations of the heart, I will firstly investigate whether these non-cardiomyocytes located in the heart express TRPM4. My plan is ultimately to investigate the role of TRPM4 in these cardiac-located cells after a myocardial infarction.

I am absolutely fascinated by cardiology. Next to research and clinic, I also appreciate being an active member of the Swiss Young Academy and Swiss Study Foundation, and to participate to national and international events, workshops and interdisciplinary projects. When I am not attending any of these activities, I might be doing water sports or traveling.


On the Web