Research

General Interests

My general area of research is the neural control of breathing with emphasis on ventilatory acclimatisation to hypoxia in mammals and breathing pattern formation in vertebrates. My future research will continue to examine the control of breathing with emphasis on central mechanisms involved in breathing pattern formation and ventilatory acclimatisation to hypoxia. I plan to work predominately on mammalian models such as rats and hibernating rodents. I do not currently anticipate doing clinical research but I appreciate any opportunity to gain experience in human studies and hope to relate my basic research to problems of medical relevance. I also hope to maintain an interest in comparative physiology, especially in terms of using appropriate animal models to study basic problems of respiratory neurobiology.

 

Introduction to the Control of Breathing

In its most basic form, breathing is produced as a respiratory rhythm by a central rhythm generator located within the brainstem. The respiratory rhythm is then modified by components of a respiratory central pattern generator. These include afferent input from chemoreceptors (e.g. carotid body glomus cells), mechanoreceptors (pulmonary stretch receptors) and descending influences from the midbrain, pons and higher brain centres.

In mammals, the ventral respiratory group (VRG) located in the ventrolateral medulla, and the dorsal respiratory group (DRG) located in the dorsal medial medulla, near the nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS), are two of the major concentrations of respiratory related neurons. It is in these sites that respiratory related afferent input is integrated and the intrinsic respiratory rhythm is modulated to produce a pattern of neural activity which is expressed as motor output to the respiratory muscles.

 

Ventilatory Acclimatisation to Hypoxia              

Breathing Pattern Formation

Chemoreception                                              

Catecholamine Secretion