Banek Lab

We are the Cardiovascular Neurophysiology Laboratory team, where we are dedicated to investigating the role of peripheral neural control of cardiovascular and renal function in health and disease. Our recent research projects are focused on studying the role of peripheral sensory nerves in the development and maintenance of cardiovascular disease, specifically hypertension (i.e. High blood pressure). Sensory nerves in the kidney appear to greatly contribute to both the development and maintenance of several models of experimental hypertension, putatively through a gradual elevation in sensory nerve activity. It is unclear what is driving this change in activity, as well as the physiological responses to both acute and chronic sensory nerve activity. We employ chronic telemetry-based approaches as well as acute electrophysiological preparations to evaluate the changes in nerve activity and the corresponding cardiovascular responses. Additionally, we take a molecular approach to study the particular proteins and non-peptide signals that may be the primary drivers of sensory nerve activation. 

Laboratory Technology and Experimental Expertise: 

  • TSE Stellar Telemetry System (Mouse/Rat)
  • Medibeacon Mouse/Rat Non-Invasive GFR Measurement System
  • Tecniplast Mouse/Rat Metabolic Caging with Sample Cooling System
  • DMT Mulvany Wire-Myography for Vascular Function Measurement
  • Multi-unit Nerve Recording Multi-Channel Differential Amplifier and PowerLab/LabChart for In Vivo Electrophysiological Studies
  • Recovery Surgical Suite
  • Tissue Molecular Analysis (Western Blotting, ELISA, HPLC)

If interested in collaborating or joining the team, please contact Dr. Banek by email.

Follow Us on Twitter!: @Banek_Lab 

Current Research Support:

National Institutes of Health HL141650



Christopher Banek, PhD (PI) 

Twitter  LinkedIn  ResearchGate  Google Scholar  UArizona Profile

Current CV-Neuro Laboratory Students and Staff

Mark Morales, Laboratory Manager

Mark enjoys learning new techniques that can further scientific discoveries. Outside interests are Rodeo, specifically Team Roping. 


Meet the Grad Students!


Madeline Gauthier, PhD Student (Physiological Sciences GIDP)

Madeline is a hybrid MD/PhD student, conducting a PhD in the Banek laboratory while on a leave of absence from Loyola University Stritch School of Medicine. She is interested in studying the intersection between immune system signaling and neural control, and the role these systems play in pathophysiological states such as refractory hypertension as well as hypertension in pregnancy. When finished with her PhD, she will return to Chicago to complete her final two years of medical school. When not in lab, she enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and long walks with her dog, Fergus.


Irin Parvin, MS Student (Physiological Sciences GIDP)

Irin is an international medical graduate from Bangladesh, conducting MS in Physiological Sciences GIDP at the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on studying contribution of autonomic nervous system in renal and cardiovascular physiology both in healthy and diseased condition. Her career goal is to become a research physician. Apart from lab hours, she enjoy spending time on reading, indoor gardening, and cooking. 


Melissa Dennis, MS Student (Major: Physiological Sciences)

Melissa is a master's student in the Physiological Sciences program. She graduated from the University of Arizona and received her BSHS in Physiology along with two minors in Biochemistry and Psychology. She is currently investigating the effects of chronic AMPK and it's role in a model of autosomal recessive polycystic kidney disease.  In her spare time, Melissa likes to work out, hike, and play tennis.  


Christian Lueng, Accelerated BME MS Student (Major: Biomedical Engineering)


Meet the Undergraduate Team!


Charbel Curiel, Undergraduate Researcher (Major: Physiology)

For hobbies I enjoy spending time with friends and family, watching sports (Mainly Basketball, Soccer, and Football), and enjoy powerlifting. My ultimate career goal is to go to medical school and become a sports medicine physician, with the intent to work for a professional sports team if possible. My interests in the lab include learning about renal physiology and renal denervation to treat hypertension. 


Elle Nangia, Undergraduate Researcher (Majors: Physiology; French Linguistics)

Elle is an undergraduate getting her B.S. in Physiology and B.A in French Linguistics with a minor in Public Health at The University of Arizona Honors College. She works as an EMT on campus, as a journalist for The Daily Wildcat, and is an executive chair in Physiology Club. Elle focused on the biotechnology of nephrology while taking courses at Duke University, leading to an interest in Banek’s nephrology research. After undergrad Elle plans on taking a gap year in Europe to work and apply for medical school. Her dream job is to be a trauma surgeon and apply her work in emergency services. When not in the lab she enjoys painting, playing piano, and camping.


Ardine Balili, Undergraduate Researcher (Major: Physiology; Minor: Biochemistry)

Ardine is an undergraduate honors student, majoring in Physiology and minoring in Biochemistry. She aims to become a Physician Assistant, particularly in Rheumatology. Ardine enjoys running and hiking."


Noah Encinas, Undergraduate Researcher (Major: Physiology and Medical Sciences; Minor Biochemistry)

Noah is currently studying Physiology and Medical Sciences with a minor in Biochemistry. After completing his undergraduate degree, he plans on attending medical school and becoming a practicing physician. During his free time, he enjoys being outdoors and spending time with family.


Kingston Chartier, Undergraduate Researcher (Major: Physiology and Medical Science; Minor: Spanish)

Kingston is an undergraduate majoring in Physiology and Medical Science with a minor in Spanish. In the lab, Kingston's interests include broadening his understanding of how different physiological systems interact with one another, learning about the process of research, and specifically about renal and neurophysiology and how renal denervation can be used to treat hypertension. Hobbies include working out, playing guitar and video games, and spending time with friends. His career goals are either pursuing medical school in hopes of becoming a Family Medicine Physician to help underserved communities or graduate physiology work.


Hannie Lynch, Undergraduate Researcher (Major: Neuroscience)

Hannie is an undergraduate student studying Neuroscience and Cognitive Science, with minors in Biochemistry and Family Studies. Outside of research, she enjoys reading, playing volleyball, and working as a wedding photographer. She is currently involved in the Navigators and NSCSAS clubs on campus and volunteers with therapy animals throughout the year. After completing her undergraduate degree, she plans to take a gap year to work, volunteer, and travel while applying for medical school.


Bash, Laboratory Mascot (Connoisseur of peanut butter and belly rubs)

Laboratory Alumni:

Kyle Schwartz, Laboratory Technician (Next Step: After working in the lab for a year, Kyle was accepted into and enrolled in Vanderbilt University Medical School, pursuing a degree in medicine and specializing in psychiatry.

Tom Tracey III, Undergraduate Researcher (Next Step: After graduating in Spring 2020, majoring in Physiology, Tom is pursuing medical school admission)

Zachary Bartoszek, Undergraduate Researcher (Next Step: Pursuing Medical School Admission)