Understanding perivascular nerves in the coordinated control of vascular resistance

Research Opportunity
Honours students
Number of Honour Places Available
1
Primary Supervisor Email Number Webpage
Dr Makhala Khammy mmkhammy@unimelb.edu.au Personal web page

Summary The Cardiovascular Therapeutics Unit has research interests across diverse areas of cardiovascular and autonomic pharmacology. Research areas include cannabinoid pharmacology in the vasculature and roles in the autonomic and sensory nervous systems, endothelin pharmacology in the setting of pulmonary hypertension, snake venom toxinology and vascular reactivity in hypertension.

Project Details

The Cardiovascular Therapeutics Unit has research interests across diverse areas of cardiovascular and autonomic pharmacology. Research areas include cannabinoid pharmacology in the vasculature and roles in the autonomic and sensory nervous systems, endothelin pharmacology in the setting of pulmonary hypertension, snake venom toxinology and vascular reactivity in hypertension. 

Abnormal activation of sympathetic nerves contributes to both the development and progression of high blood pressure. Multiple mechanisms have been proposed to drive augmented sympathetic activation of blood vessels in hypertension. One proposed mechanism is the failure of peripheral regulatory mechanisms that apply a 'brake' to sympathetic-mediated activation of the vasculature. Control of vascular resistance reflects coordinated changes in arterial diameter by different types of perivascular nerves. In addition to postganglionic sympathetic neurons, resistance arteries receive innervation from nitric-oxide containing neurons and sensory afferent neurons that release calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a potent vasodilator. Immunohistochemical studies in rat mesenteric resistance arteries demonstrate a close anatomical relationship between the different types of perivascular nerve fibres which may facilitate cross-regulation. This project will strengthen our understanding of of how the different types of perivascular nerves interact with the sympathetic nervous system to regulate the function of the cardiovascular system. Students who undertake this research project will utilise techniques that assess cardiac and vascular function ex vivo and in vivo. The student will also assess structural changes in cardiovascular tissue using a combination of histology and stereology. To complement functional and structural data, immunostaining will be used to determine the distribution and density of various perivascular nerve fibres.  




Research Opportunities

Honours students
Students who are interested in joining this project will need to consider their elegibility as well as other requirements before contacting the supervisor of this research

Graduate Research application

Honours application

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact a supervisor.


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