Dr Jaimie Polson
Lecturer, Bosch Institute
C42 - Cumberland Campus
How does the brain control blood pressure and what are the mechanisms underlying neurogenic hypertension (high blood pressure)? Recent studies have re-ignited interest in the role of the brain as a major cause of hypertension. There is also increasing interest in foetal or developmental origins of hypertension, in which an adverse "in utero" environment can predispose the offspring to develop high blood pressure in later life. My current research focus looks at whether raised steroid levels during gestation alters the normal functioning of the autonomic nervous system in the offspring, such that they are at increased risk of developing hypertension as adults. One possibility is that alterations in the physiological responses to normal, everyday stressors may lead to chronic raised levels of sympathetic nerve activity and ultimately raised blood pressure.
I also have close collaborations with Professor Roger Dampney in the Discipline of Physiology, where we study the neural mechanisms underlying the cardiovascular responses to psychological stress and exercise. The central neural pathways mediating cardio-respiratory responses to stress and exercise are poorly understood. We use a combination of physiological and anatomical techniques to try to identify these pathways.
Honours project opportunities
Do the midbrain colliculi play a role in cardio-respiratory responses to auditory-evoked alerting
Programmed hypertension: does gestational exposure to high steroid alter the effect of high salt diet on cardiovascular autonomic function?
The role of maternal high fat diet on programming of central control of blood pressure.
How fear regulates blood pressure, breathing and temperature