Stipendiary Lecturer in Medicine

KC Park

  • I recently completed a DPhil in Cardiovascular Science on a British Heart Foundation Studentship, and am now a Postdoctoral Research Scientist at the Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics and the MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine.
  • My research encompasses metabolism, molecular genetics and physiology, and focusses on understanding how heart function is affected by build-up of the naturally occurring metabolite propionate.
  • I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Profile

I am passionate about physiology and fascinated by how cellular function can be modulated through changes in the levels of metabolites. My first degree was in Biomedical Sciences at King’s College London, covering a range of topics including cardiovascular physiology & pharmacology, and extreme environment physiology. I recently completed my DPhil in Cardiovascular Science as a student of The Queen’s College, in the laboratory of Prof. Pawel Swietach at DPAG (co-supervised by Dr. Nicola Smart) on a British Heart Foundation Studentship. During the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic, I volunteered to pause my DPhil project in order to carry out research on COVID-19

I am currently working as a Postdoctoral Research Scientist in the laboratories of Prof. Swietach and Dr. Thomas Milne (MRC Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine, Radcliffe Dept. of Medicine), funded by the British Heart Foundation and the Propionic Acidemia Foundation. I am committed to an academic career and ultimately hope to lead my own research programme.

Teaching

At Trinity, I deliver tutorials to first-year students in Medicine for ‘Physiology and Pharmacology’, and tutorials to first-year Biomedical Sciences students for ‘Body and Cells’. I also teach second-year Biomedical Sciences students undertaking the module ‘Integrative Systems Physiology’ through a position at Corpus Christi College. I contribute to Final Honours School (FHS) tutorial teaching for the module ‘Applied Physiology’ and act as a laboratory supervisor for FHS research projects.

Research

My research encompasses the areas of metabolism, molecular genetics and physiology, and focuses on understanding how the ubiquitous metabolite and organic anion propionate affects cardiac function. Whilst propionate concentrations are usually kept low by enzymes in the mitochondria, it can accumulate to significant levels in disease contexts when their activity is reduced. The most extreme example of propionate accumulation is in the rare inherited disease propionic acidaemia (PA). Critically, many deaths in PA relate to heart dysfunction, suggesting heart disease is a major biological consequence of elevated propionate. My research aims to understand the molecular mechanisms underpinning such dysfunction and involves a range of experimental techniques, from classical physiology (e.g. cardiomyocyte Ca2+ imaging, transthoracic echocardiography), to mass spectrometry and next-generation genomic sequencing. In April 2022, I received a Young Investigator Award from the European Society of Cardiology for my research.

Selected Publications

  • Hulikova A, Park KC, Loonat AA, Gunadasa-Rohling M, Curtis MK, Chung YJ, Wilson A, Carr CA, Trafford AW, Fournier M, Moshnikova A, Andreev OA, Reshetnyak Y, Riley PR, Smart N, Milne TA, Crump NT, Swietach P. Alkaline nucleoplasm facilitates contractile gene expression in the mammalian heart. Basic Res Cardiol 2022;117(17):1-25.
  • Park KC, Krywawych S, Richard E, Desviat L, Swietach P. ‘Cardiac complications in propionic and other organic acidemias’ Front Cardiovasc Med 2020;22(7):617451
  • Park KC, Donovan K, Mckechnie S, Ramamurthy N, Klenerman P, Swietach P. ‘Single-cell oxygen saturation imaging shows that gas exchange by red blood cells is not impaired in COVID-19 patients’ Br J Haem 2020;190:e229-e232
  • Michl J, Park KC, Swietach P. ‘Evidence-based guidelines for controlling pH in mammalian live-cell culture systems’ Commun Biol 2019;2:144
  • Park KC, Gaze D, Collinson PO, Marber M. ‘Cardiac troponins – from myocardial infarction to chronic disease’ Cardiovasc Res 2017;113(14):1708-1718
  • Shattock MJ, Park KC, Yang HY, Lee AWC, Niederer S, MacLeod KT, Winter J. ‘Restitution slope is principally determined by steady-state action potential duration’ Cardiovasc Res 2017;113:817-828. (Editorial by Ruben Coronel)
Dr KC Park
kc.park@dpag.ox.ac.uk
Pronoun
He/Him