My laboratory works on understanding how the brain controls blood pressure and energy balance. Our studies focus on how angiotensin-(1-7), a beneficial hormone of the renin-angiotensin system, interacts with the brain to improve blood pressure and insulin sensitivity in cardiometabolic diseases such as obesity and hypertension. These studies use a variety of approaches in mice including whole animal in vivo cardiovascular monitoring (e.g. direct arterial blood pressure, radiotelemetry), pharmacologic and spectral analysis of autonomic function, and measurement of insulin action (e.g. hyperinsulinemic-euglycemic clamps, glucose and insulin tolerance testing) and energy balance (e.g. body composition, indirect calorimetry). We also have translational studies examining the effects of intravenous angiotensin-(1-7) infusion on blood pressure and insulin sensitivity in patients with cardiometabolic diseases. Specific projects ongoing in the laboratory include studying the ability of angiotensin-(1-7) to treat and prevent development of diet-induced insulin resistance, the specific molecular mechanisms involved in these effects, and potential gender differences.
In addition, my laboratory is interested in understanding mechanisms and optimal treatment strategies for patients with cardiovascular autonomic disorders including primary autonomic failure, Parkinson’s disease, and postural tachycardia syndrome. I have published several articles on therapeutic strategies to manage blood pressure and heart rate in these conditions. A particular area of interest has been understanding the disabling cognitive dysfunction that often accompanies these conditions, particularly postural tachycardia syndrome, and strategies to manage cognition in these patients.