Biography

Dr. Jernigan is a vascular physiologist. She received her Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Medicine and did her post-doctoral training at the Center for Cardiovascular-Renal Research at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. Her research program focuses on understanding the signaling mechanisms leading to cardiovascular and pulmonary diseases.

Personal Statement

Dr. Jernigan is involved in both medical and graduate education at the University of New Mexico. In addition to teaching, she has mentored several postdoctoral fellows, graduate, and undergraduate students and serves on the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program (BSGP) Steering Committee, BSGP Admissions Committee, UNM Academic Council, and chairs the UNM Senate Graduate and Professional Committee (SGPC). Dr. Jernigan has built a highly successful NIH-funded research program that has been recognized by multiple research and education awards, invitations to give international symposia, editorship of high-impact journals, and service on National Institutes of Health (NIH), American Heart Association (AHA), and Veteran’s Affairs (VA) study sections. At a national level, Dr. Jernigan serves on the American Physiological Society’s (APS) Physiology Educators Committee, Diversity and Inclusion Committee, and on the advisory board for APS undergraduate program “STRIDE: Promoting Diversity Through Research Experiences and Professional Socialization." Together, these programs promote and support undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral education and provide assistance in the improvement of physiology teaching at minority-serving institutions.

Areas of Specialty

vascular physiology pulmonary hypertension ion channel biology metabolic-mitochondria function calcium signaling

Achievements & Awards

University of New Mexico School of Medicine Educational Excellence Award, 2016 American Physiology Society New Investigator Award, 2014 University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center Excellence in Junior Faculty Research Award, 2012 Giles F. Filley Memorial Award for Excellence in Respiratory Physiology and Medicine, 2011 American Physiological Society Young Investigator Research Recognition Award, 2008 Parker B. Francis Fellowship in Pulmonary Research, 2008 Microcirculatory Society August Krogh Young Investigator Award, 2006 NIH/NHLBI Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award Individual Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2005 American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship Award, 2005

Gender

Female

Languages

  • English

Research

Dr. Jernigan’s research program focuses on a unique class of voltage-insensitive, non-selective cation channels called acid-sensing ion channels (ASIC). Her laboratory identified a unique role for ASIC1 to contribute to the development of hypoxia pulmonary hypertension, which is a progressive and often fatal outcome of chronic lung diseases (4th leading cause of death in the US). More specifically, her lab examines the contribution of ASIC1 to the metabolic-mitochondrial dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension. In addition, her work is at the forefront of determining the involvement of ASIC1 in the systemic hypertensive circulation and its association with aging and diabetes. The outcomes of this research will enable a fundamental understanding of ASIC1 in cardiovascular disease which will permit further evaluation of the therapeutic potential of ASIC1.

Courses Taught

Graduate Physiology Cardiovascular/Pulmonary/Renal Medical Physiology Advanced Cardiovascular Physiology Ion Channels Biology

Research and Scholarship

Dr. Jernigan’s research program focuses on a unique class of voltage-insensitive, non-selective cation channels called acid-sensing ion channels (ASIC). Her laboratory identified a unique role for ASIC1 to contribute to the development of hypoxia pulmonary hypertension, which is a progressive and often fatal outcome of chronic lung diseases (4th leading cause of death in the US). More specifically, her lab examines the contribution of ASIC1 to the metabolic-mitochondrial dysfunction in pulmonary hypertension. In addition, her work is at the forefront of determining the involvement of ASIC1 in the systemic hypertensive circulation and its association with aging and diabetes. The outcomes of this research will enable a fundamental understanding of ASIC1 in cardiovascular disease which will permit further evaluation of the therapeutic potential of ASIC1. Publications: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/myncbi/nikki.jernigan.1/bibliography/public/