Integrative Vascular Physiology Laboratory
R. Matthew Brothers, PhD
About the Lab
The primary focus of the Integrative Vascular Physiology Laboratory is in the investigation of mechanisms of impaired autonomic and vascular function in selected at-risk/diseased populations. This research bears implications for various physiologic conditions including thermoregulatory capacity, orthostatic tolerance, and risk for cardiovascular, neurological, and metabolic diseases. Responses to a variety of environmental conditions and interventions are utilized to investigate the impact of impairments on physiological function in at-risk/diseased populations.
The Integrative Vascular Physiology Laboratory is located in the state of the art Science and Engineering Innovation and Research (SEIR) building that was opened in September 2018. This 229,000 sq. ft. building is designed with a primary focus on research related to Health and the Human Condition and to foster collaboration. This building houses many laboratories among research faculty in the Colleges of Engineering, Nursing and Health Innovation, and Science.
John Akins, M.S.
Jeremiah Campbell, M.S.
Zachary Martin, M.S.
Rauchelle Richey, M.S.
Current Research Projects
- Mechanisms of Impaired cerebral and peripheral microvascular function in African Americans: role of oxidative stress / antioxidants
- Mechanisms of Impaired vasodilator responsiveness to mental stress in African Americans: role of acute dietary nitrate supplementation.
- Impact of a vegan diet vs a traditional western diet on various indices of cardiovascular health in at risk populations.
- Impact E-Cigarettes on cerebral and peripheral vascular health
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Example Methodological Approaches
Cerebral Vascular Function / Vasodilatory Capacity
The Trans-Cranial Doppler technique allows us to access cerebral vascular health. Brain blood flow is measured before and during hypercapnia (increased carbon dioxide concentration) which is a potent dilator of the cerebral blood vessels.
Mechanisms of Microcirculatory Function
This technique allows us to infuse small doses of vasoactive substances into the circulation to assess mechanisms of impaired microvascular function. This is important as impaired microvascular function is a precursor for a variety of cardiovascular, metabolic, neurological etc. disease risk.
Mechanisms of Macrocirculatory (Large Blood Vessel) Function: Doppler Ultrasound
This technique allows measure blood flow in larger arteries (i.e. brachial, femoral, carotid etc.) during various perturbations.
- Doppler Ultrasound machines for assessment of cardiac function as well as peripheral blood flow
- TransCranial Doppler machine for assessment of cerebral vascular function
- Laser Doppler flowmeter for assessment of skin blood flow
- Local Heaters for assessment of microvascular endothelial function
- Lower Body Negative Pressure box to induce simulated hemorrhage
- Beat-to-beat non-invasive blood pressure monitoring system
- Automated blood pressure measurement system
- Hokanson venous-occlusion plethysmography for assessment of limb blood flow
- Nerve trafficker tower for assessment microneurography assessment of nervous system activity
- One-legged kicking device for assessment of cardiac output distribution during exercise
- Patient monitor for continuous assessment of vitals
- Breath-by-breath end-tidal carbon dioxide monitoring system
- Harvard infusion pumps for local infusion of vasoactive substances
- Various equipment for plasma, blood, and serum analysis