Our research interests are focused on understanding mechanisms underlying neurovascular dysfunction and cognitive impairment in hypertension. Hypertension is a condition that affects almost 50% of the population, and it is a leading risk factor for stroke and dementia as the brain is one of the major targets of the end-organ damage produced by blood pressure elevation. As the population continues to age, it is essential to identify new targets to counteract the deleterious effects of hypertension on the brain and cognitive health.
The overall goal of our research program is to understand the basic mechanisms by which hypertension contributes to dementia, a critical and emerging priority as the aging population continues to grow at an unprecedented rate. One of our goals is to investigate the early mechanisms of autonomic and immune dysfunction to better understand the pathogenesis of cognitive impairment late in hypertension, with the goal of improving early detection of patients at risk and developing better treatment strategies to prevent cognitive decline. Our laboratory studies these questions in various mouse models of hypertension utilizing interdisciplinary techniques including measurement of cerebral blood flow regulation, flow cytometry of neuroimmune populations, and neurobehavioral testing.