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Cardiovascular Physiology BSGP Concentration

The Concentration in Cardiovascular Physiology is designed to ensure broad training in physiology with major research interests in vascular biology, hypoxia, hypertension, sleep apnea, pulmonary hypertension, heart disease, chronic kidney disease, and stroke. This concentration will provide an individualized program of upper level courses and scientific research within the UNM Vascular Physiology Group.


To earn a Concentration in Cardiovascular Physiology graduate students are required to take BIOM 510 - Physiology during the second semester of the first year. The remaining 6 credit hours will be determined based on an individualized training plan for each student from the following options.

Course No.Course titleCredit hours
Required courses:
BIOM 510Physiology3
Select 2 of the following optional courses:
BIOM 509Principles of Neurobiology3
BIOM 514Immunobiology3
BIOM 515Cancer Biology3
BIOM 516Molecular Genetics and Genomics3
BIOM 522Experimental Methods and Design3
BIOM 576/580Mol-Cell Pharmacology/General Toxicology1/2

Following successful completion of the Qualifying Exam (as defined by the BSGP), graduate training will mainly focus on laboratory research supervised by the student’s mentor, and supplemented with the following advanced courses.

Course No.Course titleCredit hours
Required courses:
BIOM 657Advanced Topics in Cellular and Systems Physiology3
BIOM 659Cardiovascular Physiology Journal Club/Seminar (1 presentation/semester)6
BIOM 505Biostatistics2
Select 2 of the following optional courses:
BIOM 537Ion Channels1
PHARM 598Cardiovascular Pharmacology – Special Topics1

Vascular Physiology Research

The Vascular Physiology Group (VPG) was founded by Dr. Benjimen R. Walker. Researchers in this group include faculty members from the Department of Cell Biology and Physiology. All investigators in the group have a track record of national-level extramural support and there is a great deal of collaboration between laboratories. The VPG has a journal club/seminar series and holds weekly joint lab meetings during which ideas are exchanged, data are presented, and planned grant applications are discussed. The VPG holds a NHLBI-funded Cardiovascular Training Grant, and maintains an excellent record of training both graduate students and postdoctoral fellows. As a group, we have the unique ability to approach our investigation from multiple levels including conscious animal hemodynamic analysis, isolated perfused organ, isolated-pressurized small arteries, electrophysiology, molecular imaging, and molecular biology. The primary research focus for faculty members of the Vascular Physiology Group is summarized below with links to faculty web pages.

Laura Gonzalez Bosc, PhD

1) Role of the adaptive immune system in chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, 2) Role of smooth muscle NFATc3 in chronic hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension, 3) Effectiveness of endothelin antagonists to prevent kidney disease in an animal model of sleep apnea.

Nikki Jernigan, PhD

The long term goal of this research program is to understand the physiological and pathophysiological function of acid sensing ion channels in the cardiovascular system. More specifically we are examining the role of these channels in 1) altered pulmonary arterial smooth muscle cell calcium homeostasis in the hypertensive pulmonary circulation, 2) endothelial dysfunction in the systemic circulation in response to ischemic injury, 3) vascular fibrosis, and 4) airway smooth muscle hyperresponsiveness in asthma.

Nancy Kanagy, PhD

1) Effect of sleep apnea on progression of chronic kidney disease; 2) Hydrogen sulfide in sleep apnea induced hypertension; 3) Effectiveness of endothelin antagonists to prevent kidney disease in an animal model of sleep apnea; 4) Development of a non-invasive screening device for peripheral vascular disease.

Jay Naik, PhD

1) Membrane cholesterol regulation of vascular ion channels 2) regulation of vascular tone by smooth muscle and endothelial [Ca2+]i events 3) effects of impaired oxygenation (hypoxia) on vascular regulation both in systemic and pulmonary circulations.

Tom Resta, PhD

1) Mechanisms of chronic hypoxia- and intermittent hypoxia-induced pulmonary hypertension; 2) Pulmonary vasoreactivity; 3) Endothelial regulation of vascular tone; 4) Regulation of vascular smooth muscle contraction by reactive oxygen species, nitric oxide, RhoA and PKC signaling; 5) Regulation of endothelial and vascular smooth muscle