Hypertension spans across all the socioeconomic classes and ethnicities. Presenting with vague or no symptoms but associated with profound morbidity and mortality it is rightly termed the silent killer. Hypertension for several decades has been the most prevalent cardiovascular disease and the leader in all cause mortality. While the prevalence rate of hypertension is increasing, the awareness and control rate have been suboptimal and by the sixth decade of life hypertension is not only more prevalent but also less well controlled and more severe in women. Recently we have added nocturnal events such as blood pressure dipping and sleep architecture to our laboratory research. Since sleep is the cornerstone for good health and occupations with disturbed sleep suffer most with health disparities, we have partnered with local Firefighter and Police stations to collect data in this arena. The Vascular Biology and Autonomic Studies Laboratory (VBASL) is directed by Dr. Scott Collier. Our primary research scope is focused on how exercise or lack of exercise impacts sleep and cardiovascular health. We are a student-centered laboratory that allows students from all disciplines work on research projects in clinical areas. With over 40 peer-reviewed publications, many with multiple students as co-authors, we welcome students in this lab who are seeking professional degrees in a clinical area such as Med School, DPT, PA and OT.
The laboratory is equipped with state-of-the-art research equipment to study the human vasculature, beat-to-beat blood pressure control and even how the brain modulates our heart rate. The research focus allows the community to participate in these important trials as the researchers focus on diseases such as hypertension, cancer and atherosclerosis. While exercise is a main prevention and treatment, this lab also investigates how sleep is affected by exercise and blood pressure changes.
While cutting edge research is completed in this lab, it also is an education facility that serves as a teaching facility for both graduate and undergraduate students. This facility is home to one of the Exercise Science Undergraduate Cardiovascular Research Team that has already had one Nationally recognized American Physiological Society Research Fellow and another internally funded scholar. Students continue to be an important part of this laboratory and will complete Honors and Masters Theses here.