Inaugural lecture: To Breathe or Not to Be? Making sense of it all

Leonard Deacon Lecture Theatre Medical School
Medical and Dental Sciences
Wednesday 21st February 2018 (16:30-17:30)
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Professor Prem Kumar

Professor Prem Kumar, Professor of Physiological Science, Institute of Clinical Sciences

Whenever metabolism rises, breathing must also rise to enable expiration of the additional venous CO2 via the lungs. This process is controlled so precisely via feedforward mechanisms that the CO2 is removed before it impacts upon the chemical composition of arterial blood.

How this occurs is still not known but must include sensors that can taste the chemical composition of blood to enable matching of ventilation to metabolism. Mismatch leads to hypoxia, breathlessness and a reduction in the quality of life.

More recently, it has been shown that one of these sensors, the carotid body, can become hypersensitised by sleep-disordered breathing, leading to neurogenic hypertension with its increased risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke.

This inaugural lecture will describe the cellular mechanism of action of the carotid body in health and disease and will additionally use control concepts to describe how student learning is impacted upon by a mismatch between desire and outcome.