Using advanced neuroscience techniques such as optogenetics and calcium imaging, this project addresses how physiological stressors induce genes to cause changes in breathing circuitry and function (neural plasticity). Chemoreceptor neurons in the retrotrapezoid nucleus (RTN) regulate breathing; neuropeptides expressed in the RTN adapt breathing behaviour, however, the underlying mechanisms remain to be clarified. This project will define the contribution of galanin (and other neuropeptides) signalling from the RTN to the excitability of the respiratory rhythm generating circuit, and to alterations in ventilatory behaviour. Understanding how adaptive neuropeptide expression adjusts respiratory chemoreception will assist translational research and lead to technological advances.
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