Neurovascular Biology Laboratory
Our laboratory is focused on understanding how genetic, neurochemical and structural changes that occur in the brain following myocardial infarction contributes to an overactive sympathetic nervous system and consequently disease progression into heart failure. Current research projects include:
- Identifying and understanding the function of specific cytokines and their role in the brain in increasing sympathetic nerve activity to drive heart failure progression.
- Understanding blood-brain barrier function and how its integrity becomes compromised in cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure.
- Understanding the role of adult neurogenesis and how this might be important for regulating central cardiovascular control in health and disease.
We have recently shown that adult neurogenesis plays a critical role in the regulation of blood pressure. Using a synthetic analogue of the building blocks of DNA our group found that adult neurogenesis in the solitary tract is increased in both genetically and experimentally induced hypertensive models. The main challenge now is to understand how increased neurogenesis within the NTS contributes to hypertension. We believe this research will help us better understand the neurogenic origins of high blood pressure and reveal a new target for treating hypertensive patients.
A glimpse at our researchCentral cardiovascular control: uncovering the role of inflammatory cytokines in the area postremaUnravelling the neural circuits that drive increases in sympathetic nerve activity in heart failureNeuroinflammatory mechanisms involved in hypertension and diabetes
In Systems Neurophysiology we seek to learn how the nervous system controls various bodily functions and how that control is altered in disease. Our disease focus includes not only neurological disorders such as epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, but also how the nervous system impacts on non-neurological diseases such as heart failure and inflammatory diseases. A clear understanding of basic mechanisms is crucial in developing better therapies and reducing the impacts of illness.