— Identification of novel brain pathways or molecules involved in the integration of anticipatory, stress, sensory and/or hormonal signals necessary for the regulation of cardiorespiratory function.
— Identification of brain pathways altered by genetic predispositions, epigenetic modifications, and/or peripheral damage in hypertension and heart failure.
— Research methods employed include systems physiology, immunohistochemistry, virally mediate neural transfection, MRI neural imaging, molecular biology and/or extracellular recording from single neurons in the brain.
Ongoing projects include:
— Investigating the impact of prenatal nicotine exposure on the predisposition to develop cardiovascular disease later in life. This includes an evaluation of changes in the maternal gut microbiome during nicotine exposure and associated shifts in metabolite content impacting postnatal central control of blood pressure in males versus females.
— Evaluating the impact on blood pressure of chemogenetic activation or inhibition of targeted regions of the brain linked with the hypothalamic orexin system in both normotensive and hypertensive animals.
— Investigating central autonomic changes in heart failure, including the role of the gut microbiome-brain axis.