My research focuses on neuronal regulation of cardiac function.
Specifically, I am interested in how neurotransmitters (chemicals released by nerve cells to communicate with one another) can modulate the activity of neurons located within the heart which in turn regulate heart rate and the strength of heart contractions. Most recently, the research in my lab is examining how chronic heart disease can alter the function of the neurons that regulate the heart. These studies are done in collaboration with Dr Marie Southerland and Dr. Jeffrey Ardell at East Tennessee State University. Dr. Southerland, a veterinarian, is able to create surgical models of heart disease (myocardial infarction or chronic pressure overload) in guinea pigs. These animals are then sent to us where we study the electrical responses of intracardiac neurons to specific neurotransmitters to look for changes in neuronal function induced by the disease process. We are also studying phenotypic changes in these neurons, such as changes in specfic protein expression. To investigate these questions, I make use of several different neurobiological techniques, including immunohistochemistry, electrophysiology, and biochemistry.
- Listen to one of my research students talk about research in our lab (click here for video slide show)
- Read an article in ICView: "Genius and Species: IC biologists make big breakthroughs by studying small animals" (Andy Smith, Leann Kanda, and Jean Hardwick)
If you interested in conducting research in my lab, then please click below:
If you need more information on the procedures to enroll for research credit then follow this link: Information on the procedures to conduct research.
I am an active member of the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience (FUN). This organization was created to promote undergraduate research in Neuroscience and works to provide opportunities for students to present their research at the annual Society for Neuroscience meetings, the premier conference in this field. To learn more about this organization, click here.
In November 2014 I was awarded the FUN "Outstanding Service Award" at their annual meeting as part of the Society for Neuroscience meetings in Washington DC. The award recognized my work in organizing and hosting the triennial workshop of the Faculty for Undergraduate Neuroscience at Ithaca College this past August. The workshop hosted over 100 faculty from across the country and covered topics ranging from laboratory exercises, curricular innovations, teaching techniques, and grant funding strategies.
Neuroscience Minor, Advisor
Ithaca College offers a Neuroscience minor for those students interested in an interdisciplinary study of the nervous system. The minor includes courses from several departments, including Biology, Psychology, and Exercise Science. The minor includes both classwork and a research/practicum experience.
Biochemistry Program faculty member