Carotid Body Research

The sensing of arterial blood gases and other blood-borne chemicals is mediated via specialised chemoreceptor cells that act to initiate corrective cardiorespiratory reflexes aimed at restoring homeostasis.

Our research is aimed (i) at understanding the transduction processes involved in these cells – from the molecular mechanisms involved in detecting the stimulus through to the initiation of afferent neural signals and (ii) at understanding how chemoreflexes may be modulated by disease conditions, including sleep apnoea, diabetes, COPD and heart failure.

We undertake in vivo measurements of cardiorespiratory function and in vitro measurements of afferent neural discharge and single cell electrophysiology (patch clamp) as well as localisation of cellular proteins with immunohistochemistry. The work is complemented by associated research with collaborators in the School of Sport and Exercise Science and at Heartlands Hospital, where human studies are performed to examine the impact of intermittent hypoxia/sleep apnoea upon cardiorespiratory control.

We have a major collaboration with a research grouping involving experts at the Universities of Edinburgh, Dundee and Leeds to study a role for AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in the sensing of hypoxia, utilising targeted AMPK-knockouts.

Group members...

Prem Kumar (group lead)
Reader in Cardiorespiratory Physiology

Dr Wendy Leadbeater
Lecturer in Medical Sciences

Dr George Balanos (Sportex)
Lecturer in Exercise Physiology

Dr Sharad Taheri
Senior Lecturer in Endocrinology

Andrew Holmes
Ph.D student

Wilson To
Ph.D student