Pre-clinical Critical Care Unit

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.

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.

Current research projects include:

  1. Identifying and understanding the function of specific cytokines and their role in the brain in increasing sympathetic nerve activity to drive heart failure progression.
  2. Understanding blood-brain barrier function and how its integrity becomes compromised in cardiovascular diseases such as heart failure.
  3. Understanding the role of adult neurogenesis and how this might be important for regulating central cardiovascular control in health and disease.

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