Research Projects

The Aging & Vascular Physiology Laboratory is interested in age-related vascular dysfunction including impaired endothelial function, increased large artery stiffness, and increased atherosclerotic risk. Specific projects include:

Cerebral artery dysfunction: We are exploring the roles of large artery stiffening and telomere dysfunction on age-related dysfunction of the cerebral arteries. This work is funded by the National Institute on Aging (K01 AG046326) and the Oregon Medical Research Foundation.

Alzheimer’s disease: It is now recognized that one contributor to late-onset Alzheimer’s disease is likely changes to the cerebral vasculature with age. It is known that Alzheimer’s disease is associated with greater vascular permeability, changes to blood flow, and increased large artery stiffness. We aim to determine how age-related vascular changes affect Alzheimer’s disease related outcomes. This work is funded by the Oregon Tax Check-off Alzheimer’s Research Fund through the Oregon Partnership for Alzheimer’s Research.

Sex differences: We are interested in the potential inherent differences between men and women in the mechanisms leading to vascular dysfunction in older age. Our studies demonstrate with aging there is more telomere dysfunction in the arteries of women compared to men. We are particularly interested in determining the role of estrogen deficiency after menopause on the cellular and molecular changes in arteries with age.

Atherosclerosis: It is not completely clear why atherosclerosis risk increases with age. We aim to determine if aging increases susceptibility to the plaque-producing effect of turbulent blood flow.

Hemorrhagic shock: Obese patients who suffer hemorrhagic trauma have a higher incidence of organ failure and mortality compared with non-obese patients. We seek to understand the vascular mechanisms related to the poor outcomes in this patient population after trauma. This project is a collaboration with Dr. Belinda McCully at OHSU and is funded by a UO-OHSU Seed Grant.