K01 Awarded to Behavioral Medicine Laboratory

Dr. Annie Ginty was recently awarded a K01 Research Scientist Development Award from the National Institutes of Health (National, Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute). The project, “Brain substrates for cardiovascular stress physiology”, aims to identify the ‘brain—cardiovascular’ pathways of metabolically excessive responses to stress. The central hypothesis is that metabolically excessive cardiovascular responses to stress are caused by increased brain activation in areas associated with cardiovascular and autonomic control. The project began in Fall 2019 and is funded through Summer 2024.

Public Health Relevance:

Exaggerated physiological responses to psychological stress are commonly regarded as contributing to cardiovascular disease (CVD), nonetheless, we lack an understanding of the mechanisms by which psychological responses to threat are translated into cardiovascular responses that are excessive to the immediate physiological needs of the individual. The project will use both cross-sectional and experimental approaches to examine how the brain and cardiovascular system interact during psychological stress and will provide a more comprehensive understanding of the role the brain plays in metabolically-excessive responses to stress. This research is relevant to public health because it is a crucial step in understanding how psychological stress relates to a risk factor for CVD and is necessary to develop appropriate brain-based approaches to CVD risk prevention and stratification.

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