Regulation of Animal Vascular Tissue in a Brainstem Respiratory Center
Spring 2015-Fall 2016
Investigators: Dr. Daniel Mulkey (Associate Professor), Virginia Hawkins (Post doc fellow), and Samana Zaidi
I have worked in Dr. Daniel Mulkey’s lab investigating the processes involving regulation of animal vascular tissue in the brainstem respiratory center. We have been using mammalian models to conduct our research, therefore, rats and mice were utilized. Our research has been focused on chemoreception which is the mechanism by which breathing is regulated as levels of CO2 and H+ increase or decrease in tissues. An important region of interest of ours is the retrotrapezoid nucleus known as the RTN. Within the RTN there are neurons that control breathing. An important channel is contained within the RTN region known as the KCNQ channel. We focused on multiple KCNQ channels primarily KCNQ2 and KCNQ3. These channels are potassium channels that are critical for brain function. We investigated the effects of loss of function and gain of function on KCNQ channel variants and what the response leads to be. In addition, the research was further applied to how we can use KCNQ2 channels to target patients with encephalopathy.