Ph.D., 1997, University of Glasgow
Associate Professor, Dept. Pharmacology &
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S., and the leading cause of long-term disability. Hypertension is the number one risk factor for stroke. Our research focuses on understanding the effects of hypertension on the cerebral blood vessels. It is clear that hypertension causes structural changes, known as vascular remodeling, in the cerebral vessels. These changes increase an individual’s risk of having a stroke, and increase the damage caused to the brain when a stroke occurs. Our research is focused on understanding the mechanisms that drive the vascular remodeling process. We believe that if we can prevent the cerebral vessel remodeling, we can reduce the incidence of stroke. We have three main projects in the lab:
1. To evaluate the effects of mineralocorticoid receptor activation on cerebral vessel structure and function. We have been testing the usefulness of spironolactone, a mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist, to prevent and reverse cerebral vessel remodeling and reduce the damage caused by a stroke.
2. To evaluate the gender differences in the responsiveness of the cerebral vessels to mineralocorticoid receptor activation and antagonism.
3. To study the effects of obesity on the cerebral vasculature. This project uses a model of obesity that was developed in our lab to study the effect of life long obesity on the vasculature.
We use a variety of techniques in the lab including methods to induce a stroke and analyze cerebral blood flow and the damage to the brain. We also study the structure and function of the cerebral vessels using pressure myography. A variety of biochemical and molecular biology techniques are also utilized in the lab to elucidate the mechanisms responsible for the vessel remodeling.
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