- Brain Awareness Week
Breathing is a seemingly simple and absolutely vital process, and problems with its regulation have been implicated in a wide variety of disorders, including sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and sudden unexpected death in epilepsy (SUDEP). A network of brainstem nuclei regulates breathing in response to changes in blood O2, CO2, and pH, as well as generating a regular rhythm. My work deals with the relative contributions of different nuclei to CO2 chemosensitivity. Both the serotonergic neurons of the medullary raphe and the Phox2b expressing neurons of the retrotrapezoid nucleus have been proposed as the primary site of central chemoreception, but their connectivity and relative roles have not yet been fully elucidated. My work seeks to better understand how these areas relate to one another in both structure and function.
The University of Iowa is a great place to attend graduate school. The scientific community is friendly and collaborative, and the Neuroscience program works to create a supportive community among its students. It's relatively easy to live within a short commute to the University. Iowa City is also a lot of fun. I live within walking distance of downtown and everything it has to offer, so I frequent the Farmer's Market, the public library, and favorite restaurants.