Plenary Speakers

ISAN 2022 will feature an international lineup of Plenary and Symposia speakers.

Tomoyuki Kuwaki

Kagoshima University, Japan


Kuwaki received his PhD from the University of Tokyo in 1992. He is a Professor Emeritus at Kagoshima University and continues his research at the same place. He is a renowned world leader in the autonomic neuroscience field. He has been one of the pioneers to establish the measurement of cardiovascular, respiratory and thermoregulatory variables in vivo in mice. His experience has led to the discoveries of the important roles of newly-discovered neuropeptides, receptors and brain neural mechanisms controlling stressor-induced autonomic responses. He discovered that TRPA1 in the trigeminal nerve plays as a sentinel for airborne threats and prevent further damages from occurring. He also found that orexin neurons in the hypothalamus play an important role in mediating autonomic outflow from the brain, i.e., cardiorespiratory and thermoregulatory excitation (defense response) during stress. He has published over 170 articles in journals including Nature.

Amanda Page

The University of Adelaide, Australia


Prof Page completed her PhD under the mentorship of Prof Burnstock at University College London before embarking on a postdoctoral career in Adelaide. She has an international reputation in the area of the gut-brain axis. Vagal afferent sensory nerves innervate the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract and play an important role in sensing the arrival, amount and chemical composition of a meal. These signals are transmitted to the brain where they regulate food intake by modulating appetite as well as feedback control of GI functions (e.g. GI motility). Exaggerated or reduced GI perception of a meal can have significant implications for eating-related disorders, across the lifespan. Prof Page’s overarching research vision is to improve understanding of the physiology and pathophysiology of GI vagal afferent signalling, with the ultimate aim to provide new pharmacological targets or dietary therapeutic approaches for treatment of diseases, such as obesity and functional dyspepsia.

Symposia Speakers

Caroline Sevoz-Couche - INSERM, France

I’m a neuropharmacologist researcher from France who’s been studying the vagus nerve for over 20 years. I’m interested in preventing centrally-induced changes in the parasympathetic vagal component of the autonomic nervous system during acute and chronic stress, as well as in respiratory disorders including pulmonary hypertension and asthma. I’m also presently investigating the ability to stimulate the parasympathetic vagus nerve to produce anti-nociceptive and/or anti-inflammatory benefits using either direct electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve or the practice of Deep Breathing. These approaches also allow for activation of the afferent vagus nerve, which I plan to investigate for its impact on mood and cognitive disorders.

Social   Defeat:   Vagal   Recovery   And   Protection   Against   Ventricular   Arrhythmias

Background: Previously, we found that a sub-population of defeated anesthetized rats (Dlow) characterized by persistent low blood levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and autonomic alteration twenty-six days after the last social challenge (day 30), while the other population (Dhigh) was similar to non-defeated (ND) animals..

Aim: To determine the time-course of autonomic dysfunction in awake animals, and whether Dhigh and/or Dlow were vulnerable to cardiac events.


Vagus   Nerve   Stimulation   Induces   Anti-inflammatory   Effects   In   A   Mice   Model   Of   Allergic   Asthma

Background: Asthma is of major public health importance in all continents. Activation of the Cholinergic Anti-inflammatory Pathway (CAP) with nicotinic agents has recently been shown to inhibit pro-inflammatory cytokines in acute lung injury.

Aim: We analysed the effects of vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) to induce CAP in a model of allergic asthma.

Bruno Bonaz - CHU Grenoble Alpes, France

Targeting the vagus nerve to treat inflammatory disorders of the gastro-intestinal tract

Julie Buron - INSERM, France

Julie Buron obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences with a specialization in Animal Physiology and Neuroscience at the University of Poitiers (France) and a Master’s degree in Cellular, Molecular and Integrated Neuroscience at Aix-Marseille University (France) in 2019. She is currently a 3rd year PhD student at the Institut de Neurobiologie de la Méditerranée (INMED) in Marseille, under the co-direction of Dr Clément Menuet and Dr Françoise Muscatelli. Her thesis project focuses on the study of a hypothalamus-brainstem neuronal network for oxytocinergic amplification of cardiorespiratory coupling.

A   Hypothalamus-brainstem   Neuronal   Network   For   Oxytocinergic  Amplification   Of   Respiratory   Sinus   Arrhythmia

Heart rate increases during inspiration and decreases during expiration, a phenomenon called respiratory sinus arrhythmia (RSA). We recently showed that brainstem preBötzinger complex (preBötC) neurons, which generate the inspiratory rhythm, also generate RSA by providing an inhibitory modulation of adjacent nucleus ambiguus (nA) cardiac parasympathetic neurons. A large RSA amplitude is physiologically and psychologically beneficial. The neuromodulator oxytocin is known to beneficially influence individuals’ health and oxytocinergic axons project to brainstem cardiorespiratory nuclei. We hypothesized that oxytocin amplifies RSA by modulating the synaptic connectivity between preBötC/nA neurons.

Ulrika Marklund - Karolinska Institutet, Sweden

Dr. Ulrika Marklund is a PI at the Department for Medical Biochemistry and Biophysics at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Her research is focused on neural cell diversity in the Enteric Nervous System (ENS) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Ulrika gained an MSci from Umeå University in 2002, and a PhD at Karolinska Institutet in 2008. Her thesis focused on the molecular control of cell identity and neurogenesis in the developing central nervous system. She thereafter switched field to the ENS and obtained postdoctoral experience (2009/2010) in Prof. Pachnis lab at National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK. Ulrika established her own team in 2013 and has since then used transcriptome techniques (single cell RNA-sequencing, microarrays) to classify enteric neural subtypes and determine developmental principles for their diversification. An ultimate goal is to recapitulate cell fate determination and circuit formation for cell-based therapy of GI neuropathology.

Neuronal   Diversity   In   The   Enteric   Nervous   System – From   Development   To   Circuits

Background: The enteric nervous system (ENS) organizes into irregular ganglia of intermingled neural types spanning the entire length of the gut. Meticulous work has identified various enteric phenotypes, but lack of unique molecular markers has hampered elucidation of the full cellular complexity. Different neurons have been found to emerge in a temporally ordered sequence during the development, yet the underlying molecular mechanisms remain unclear.

Aim: My lab’s research aims are to determine the cellular makeup of the ENS at a molecular level and reveal how the diversity emerges during the embryonic development.

David J Paterson - Oxford University, England

Gene therapeutic approach to drive cardiac vagus in pathophysiological states

Using cardiac-sympathetic human iPSC co-cultures for target discovery in catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia

Rohit Ramchandra - University of Auckland, New Zealand

Pacemaker-mediated re-instatement of respiratory sinus arrythmia in heart failure improves cardiac function.

Johanna Montgomery - University of Auckland, New Zealand

Synaptic plasticity in the cardiac autonomic ganglia: implications for treatment

Fiona D McBryde - University of Auckland, New Zealand

Feeling the pressure – protecting collateral blood flow in ischemic stroke

Tomoyuki Kuwaki - Kagoshima University, Japan

Nucleus accumbens participates in thermoregulation

Manami Oya - Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan

Hypothalamic melanocortin mechanism of age-related reduction in metabolic thermogenesis

Yusaku Iwasaki - Kyoto Prefectural University, Japan

TRPA1 agonists from spices increase food intake via vagal afferent nerves.

Harumi Hotta - Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Japan

Sarcopenia and somato-autonomic reflexes.

Nobuhiro Watanabe - Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology, Japan

Kampo medicine for frailty on cerebral circulation.

Christian Meyer, Teaching Hospital University of Düsseldorf, Germany

Glial cells as new biomarkers and novel therapeutic targets for atrial fibrillation

Hermona Soreq - The Edmond and Lily Safra Center of Brain Science and the Alexander Silberman Life Sciences Institute, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel

Seeking non-coding RNA controllers of acetylcholine signaling in health and disease

Andrea Sgoifo - University of Parma, Italy

Fostering stress resilience by preserving parasympathetic modulation

Vera K. Jandackova - University of Ostrava, Czechia

Does vagus nerve contribute to protect mental and cognitive health in non-clinical population ?

Pascal Carrive University of Sydney, Australia

1990 PhD, University of Sydney
1990-1993 Research associate University of Sydney
1993-1999 Research fellow University of New South Wales, School of Psychology
1999-2008 Senior lecturer University of New South Wales, School of Medical Sciences
2008-now Associated Professor, University of New South Wales, School of Medical Sciences

Effect   Of   Orexin   Knock-out   On   The   Blood   Pressure   Phenotype   Of   The   Hypertensive   Schlager   Mice

Introduction: The hypothalamic neuropeptide orexin regulates the level of arousal, from simple wakefulness to motivated behaviour. Orexin also has a central sympatho-excitatory effect that drives blood pressure up. Furthermore, pharmacological studies suggest that the neurogenic hypertension of spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHR) and hypertensive Schlager mice (BPH/2J) could be due to enhanced orexinergic signalling. Here we tested the possibility that knocking out the orexin gene (Hcrt) in the BPH/2J mouse might restore normotension.

Aim: Generate an orexin knockout BPH/2J mouse (HcrtKO-BPH/2J) and determine if it is still hypertensive.

Mariana Del Rosso de Melo - University of Melbourne, Australia

Dr Melo received her PhD in Physiology from the Federal University of Sao Paulo (UNIFESP/Brazil) in 2017. In 2018 she joined the prof Andrew Allen’s laboratory where has been working as Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Her academic training and research experience have provided her with an excellent background in multiple biological disciplines including physiology, pharmacology and neuroscience. Since her PhD, she has been interested to elucidate the central mechanisms involved with blood pressure regulation and how they can lead to the development of hypertension. Her current research involves understanding how the central areas responsible for the breathing generation can also influence the blood pressure and heart rate, and whether dysfunction in this system could lead to hypertension and changes in emotional estate.

Cell   Selective   Expression   Of   Inhibitory   Optogenetic   Molecules   Enables   Identification   Of   The   Function   Of Sub-classes Of   Prebötzinger   Complex   Neurons.

Background: The pre-Bötzinger Complex (preBötC) is a major generator of respiratory rhythm, that also modulates cardiovascular function, emotional state and orofacial behaviours. The identity of the neurons responsible for these different functions is not determined. To unravel this organisation of the preBötC, we are injecting retrograde adeno-associated viruses expressing cre-recombinase (AAVrg-Cre) into key preBötC targets and cre-dependent AAV, that expresses the inhibitory light-activated chloride channel (GtACR2) predominantly in the soma (AAV-DIO-GtACR2-muGFP-Kv2.1), into the preBötC.

Aim: To identify the phenotype and physiological function of a sub-group of preBötC neurons projecting to the facial nucleus (7n) and regulate orofacial behaviour.

Lindsea Booth - Florey Institute, Australia

Optogenetic stimulation of the vagus nerve in large mammals

Youichirou Ootsuka - Flinders University, Australia

Mechanisms of lithium-induced hypothermic responses

Herbert Herzog - Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Australia

Altered NPY feeding control in an activity based anorexia mouse model.

Nick Spencer - Flinders Medical Centre, Australia

Organisation and control of enteric motor reflexes

Marlene Hao - University of Melbourne, Australia

The importance of enteric glia in ENS function

Rajanikanth Vadigepalli - Thomas Jefferson University, USA

3D transcriptomic map of the intrinsic cardiac vagal neural network

James Peters - Washington State University, USA

Circadian regulation of glutamate release pathways shapes vagal synaptic throughput in the brainstem nucleus of the solitary tract (NTS)

Kalyanam Shivkumar - David Geffen School of Medicine & UCLA Health System, USA

Cardiac neural control: implications for arrhythmia management

Stavros Stavrakis - University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, USA

Optimization of autonomic modulation for atrial fibrillation

Valentin A. Pavlov - The Feinstein Institutes for Medical Research, USA

Preclinical insights into the role of cholinergic signaling in controlling inflammation and metabolism and their clinical translation

Cyndya Chibao - Vanderbilt University Medical Center, USA

Novel findings in vagus nerve cardiovascular modulation in Long COVID syndrome and its clinical implications

Christopher Madden - Oregon Health & Science University, USA

Neural control of thermoeffectors during viral fever

Julian Thayerb - University of California, USA

The role of the vagus in resilience: a neurovisceral integration perspective

Kendall Morris - University of South Florida, USA

Understanding interactions between blood pressure and respiration: neuronal Mayer wave related and other low frequency oscillations.

Charles Ethan Paccione

Meditative-based biofeedback and transcutaneous vagus nerve stimulation in the treatment of chronic pain

Ali Gholamrezaei

The role of the autonomic nervous system in pain modulation by respiration

Paul Lehrer

Resonance frequency breathing: mechanisms and clinical effects

Sylvia Conde

Carotid body: linking the periphery and the central nervous system in energy homeostasis

John Osborn

Targeted modulation of the kidney-brain axis for the treatment of cardiometabolic diseases