UNMC INBRE Mentors-Cellular & Integrative Physiology

Pamela K. Carmines, Ph.D.
E-mail: pcarmines@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  This laboratory studies the hormone and growth factor receptors and intracellular signaling pathways that regulate contraction and relaxation of blood vessels in the kidney, a critical site for regulation of blood volume, pressure, and ion composition. One current focus is on the mechanisms by which the hormone angiotensin II interacts with the epidermal growth factor and its receptor and with the Src-family tyrosine kinases. Another disease focus is type 1 diabetes, which is characterized by changes in kidney function and blood vessel problems. Studies range from molecular through isolated cells to animal models and include video microscopy, fluorescence measurements of calcium and other ions, and diverse biochemical and molecular biology approaches.

For more information on Dr. Carmines: Web Site

Kaushik Patel, Ph.D.
E-mail: kpatel@unmc.edu
Research Interests:  The brain receives multiple signals regarding the function of the cardiovascular system—heart rate,  blood volume and pressure, ionic composition of the blood—and it then sends new signals that bring about changes in the heart, the blood vessels, and the kidneys to keep the cardiovascular system working properly. This laboratory focuses on one major component of this complex regulatory system, the so-called "volume reflex" mediated by a specialized brain region called "the paraventricular nucleus of the hypothalamus. How do this brain region and regulatory reflex function normally? And how are they altered in diseases like hypertension, diabetes and heart failure? Biochemical, molecular biology, electrophysiological, hemodynamic and kidney function measurement techniques are used for studying this pathway.

For more information on Dr. Patel: Web Site

George Rozanski, Ph.D.
E-mail: grozansk@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  Cardiac muscle cells have specialized electrical properties that allow them to beat in a properly orchestrated manner and to respond to the changing needs of the organism. This electrical activity is mediated by "ion channels" that control movement of ions such as calcium, potassium, sodium, and protons across the cell membrane. How are these channels altered in diseases such as congestive heart failure and type-1 diabetes? How do these alterations lead to cardiac arrhythmias? The current focus in this laboratory is on the role of "oxidative stress" in altering ion channel activity and on the cellular systems that protect and/or repair damaged heart proteins. Experimental approaches include electrophysiology with living cells as well as biochemical and molecular biology techniques to understand multiple aspects of cardiac ion channel regulation in disease.

For more information on Dr. Rozanski: Web Site

Matthew C. Zimmerman, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
E-mail: mczimmerman@unmc.edu 

Research Interests:  This laboratory studies two central nervous system-associated diseases, hypertension and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS, aka Lou Gehrig’s disease).  We are interested in how reactive oxygen species (ROS) and antioxidants affect the development and progression of these diseases.  Although these two diseases may appear to be quite different, we believe there is common underlying theme which includes increased levels of ROS produced in mitochondria. To examine mitochondrial-produced ROS in hypertension and ALS, we use molecular biology techniques to increase in the levels of mitochondrial-localized antioxidants in cell culture and animal models. Thus, in this laboratory, students are exposed to an array of research techniques from the molecular level to the whole animal.

For more information on Dr. Zimmerman: Web Site

Irving Zucker, Ph.D.
Professor and Chairman
E-mail: izucker@unmc.edu

Research Interests:  How do signals from the brain control the activity of the heart and the blood vessels? In particular, how are these control mechanisms altered in patients with heart failure? Answering these questions may lead to improved drugs or other therapies to prevent or treat chronic heart failure. Current studies focus on body chemicals such as angiotensin II and nitric oxide and factors such as oxidant stress and exercise training in causing and/or preventing brain changes that contribute to heart failure. This laboratory uses a combination of molecular, cellular and whole animal techniques to study brain mechanisms in heart failure, exposing students to the wide variety of biomedical research techniques used in studies of both the brain and the cardiovascular system.

For more information on Dr. Zucker: Web Site