Professor Alexander Gourine
|Professor of Physiology and Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow|
|Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 4384|
|Alexander Gourine (MS, PhD) is a Wellcome Trust Senior Research Fellow at University College London. He gained his PhD at the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences (Moscow, Russia), received postdoctoral training in the US and the UK and was appointed to the Department of Physiology as The Wellcome Trust Senior Fellow in 2006. He was awarded the Physiological Society’s Wellcome Trust Prize in the year 2004 for his contribution to understanding the mechanisms underlying chemosensory control of breathing.|
Chemosensory control of breathing
We breathe continuously from birth until death to maintain appropriate concentrations of oxygen, CO2 and hydrogen ions (H+) in the blood in various environmental and physiological conditions. Respiratory sensors located in the brain monitor changes in the blood levels of CO2 and H+ and evoke adaptive changes in breathing appropriate to the current metabolic rate and activity. The identity of these respiratory CO2 sensors as yet remains to be determined. The specific molecular mechanisms which transduce changes in blood concentrations of CO2 and H+ into a modified pattern of breathing are also remain elusive. We use a combination of experimental models ranging from cell culture to in vivo animal preparations to identify the nature of the respiratory sensors in the brain and pinpoint the mechanisms which underlie their sensitivity to changes in the levels of CO2 and H+ in the blood.
Research supported by the Wellcome Trust.
Autonomic control in pathological conditions
Beat-by-beat activity of the heart and every single breath are controlled by the central nervous system. Brain mechanisms responsible for regulation of the activity of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems exhibit significant plasticity which ensures survival and adaptation of the organism in changeable environment. In pathological conditions this plasticity may result in adaptive and beneficial modifications in central cardiorespiratory control, but may also lead to maladaptive and detrimental changes when disease is progressing. Surprisingly, very little is known about the mechanisms underlying changes in the activity of brain centres involved in cardiorespiratory control in pathological conditions. In collaboration with Dr Gareth Ackland we investigate neuronal and molecular mechanisms responsible for modifications in the central nervous mechanisms of cardiovascular and respiratory control in different pathological conditions, including heart failure and systemic inflammation leading to sepsis.
Research supported by The Royal Free Peter Samuel Fund and The Intensive Care Society.