Current Active Research Projects
This project studies how neurons in the hindbrain that express angiotensin type 2 receptors can be targeted to alleviate treatment-resistant hypertension.
These studies evaluate whether angiotensin type-2 receptors (AT2Rs) that are expressed on γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurons in the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS) represent a novel endogenous blood pressure lowering mechanism.
This project examines specific connections in the forebrain that control blood pressure and determines how hypertension disrupts their function.
Blood pressure is controlled by endocrine, autonomic, and behavioral responses that maintain blood volume and perfusion pressure at levels optimal for survival. Although it is clear that central angiotensin type 1a receptors (AT1aR; encoded by the Agtr1a gene) influence these processes, the neuronal circuits mediating these effects are incompletely understood.
This project investigates how psychosocial stress creates changes in the brain that promote affective and cardiovascular disorders. Conversely, the project also studies the brain circuits that promote stress relief and improve mental and cardiovascular health.
The hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus (PVN) controls neuroendocrine axes and the autonomic nervous system to mount responses that cope with the energetic burdens of psychological or physiological stress. Neurons in the PVN that express the angiotensin Type 1a receptor (PVNAgtr1a) are implicated in neuroendocrine and autonomic stress responses; however, the mechanism by which these neurons coordinate activation of neuroendocrine axes with sympathetic outflow remains unknown. Here, we use a multidisciplinary approach to investigate intra-PVN signaling mechanisms that couple the activity of neurons synthesizing corticotropin-releasing-hormone (CRH) to blood pressure.