Neural control of respiration

2007 Seed Grant
Kamal Sharma, Ph.D.
The University of Chicago

Dr. Sharma’s long-term goal is to use genetic markers to identify neurons that regulate motor functions and transgenic mouse models to understand their contribution to the rhythmic motor output. Dr. Sharma and his lab have identified a class of excitatory neurons located in the brainstem reticular formation and the ventral spinal cord that express homeodomain factor Chx10. Geneticablation of these neurons in mice has revealed two distinct functions. Chx10 neurons in the brainstem regulate the frequency and stability of the respiratory rhythm generated in the Prs-Botzinqer complex (PSC). Chx10 neurons in the spinal cord regulate the locomotor network activity.

It is known that neurons in the hindbrain regulate breathing, walking and running. It is thought that many motor related diseases affect the physiology of these neurons. Dr. Sharma’s goal is to identify genetic markers for such neurons and to use transgenic and electrophysiological methods to define their function.

Other Grants

Rebekah C. Evans, Ph.D., Georgetown University
In Vivo and Ex Vivo Dissection of Midbrain Neuron Activity During Exercise
Exercise is important for the health of the body and the mind. Exercise promotes learning and reduces symptoms of brain-related diseases such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. However, it…
William J. Giardino, Ph.D. Stanford University
Deciphering the Neuropeptide Circuitry of Emotional Arousal in Narcolepsy
This research project aims to investigate the neural mechanisms of a specific type of brain cell called neuropeptide neurons within a region of the brain’s amygdala network called the bed…
Howard Gritton, Ph.D., University of Illinois
Attention Mechanisms Contributing to Auditory Spatial Processing.
Our world is composed of a rich mixture of sounds. We often process sounds including speech in the presence of many other competing auditory stimuli (e.g., voices in a crowded…
Nora Kory, Ph.D., Harvard University
Elucidating the Fates and Functions of Lactate in the Brain
The human brain requires significant energy to function. Despite accounting for only 2% of our body weight, the brain consumes a substantial 20% of the body’s energy, relying on a…