Dr. Ralph Fregosi and Dr. Richard Levine awarded $1.5 million NIH Grant

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Dr. Ralph Fregosi, Professor of Physiology at the University Of Arizona College Of Medicine, and Dr. Richard Levine, co-Principal Investigator and Professor of Neuroscience, have been awarded a $1.5 million grant by the NIH Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health & Human Development to study the chronic nicotine and synaptic transmission in brainstem respiratory neurons.

The goal is to better understand how exposure to nicotine in utero and in the early neonatal period (Developmental Nicotine Exposure, DNE) alters development of nervous system structure and function in infants and young children, with specific focus on the hypoglossal motoneurons, which are critical for normal breathing, swallowing, sucking and chewing. Dr. Fregosi’s laboratory has produced considerable evidence showing that DNE neonates exhibit a variety of abnormal anatomic and functional changes that adversely affect normal breathing control. They seek to understand the cellular mechanisms that cause these developmental changes and will examine how DNE alters the structure and function of hypoglossal motor neurons, and correlate them with behavioral measures in neonatal rats studied in vivo.


Dr. Fregosi’s email: fregosi@email.arizona.edu

His collaborator on this research is Dr. Richard Levine