Graduate Studies Faculty

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Beth A. Habecker, PhD

Professor of Physiology and Pharmacology
Admin Unit: SOM-Physiology & Pharmacology Department
Phone: 503-494-0497
Lab Phone: 503-494-0498
Fax: 503-494-4352
Office: RJH 3586
Mail Code: L334
Neuroscience Graduate Program
Physiology & Pharmacology
Program in Molecular & Cellular Biosciences
Research Interests:
autonomic nervous system, sympathetic transmission, neuroplasticity, myocardial infarction, neurotrophins, inflammatory cytokines, signaling » Click here for more about Dr. Habecker's research » PubMed Listing
Preceptor Rotations
Dr. Habecker has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty Mentorship
Dr. Habecker has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.

Summary of Current Research

My lab is interested in understanding the changes that occur in the cardiac innervation following myocardial infarction (a heart attack). Alterations in the sympathetic innervation of the heart after myocardial infarction can trigger arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. These neuronal changes are not well understood, but blocking cardiac receptors for the neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) can help prevent arrhythmias. We are trying to understand the molecular basis for these changes in noradrenergic function, investigating the regulation of neuronal proteins that synthesize, store, and remove NE, and the genes that encode them. We are also examining the role of neurotrophins in post-infarct denervation and nerve sprouting/regeneration. Cardiac nerve sprouting in humans has been directly linked to cardiac pathology and sudden cardiac death. We use a variety of molecular, biochemical, and histological techniques to investigate the regulation of these proteins and genes, using cell lines, primary neuronal cultures, and whole animal studies.

Recent Publications

Gardner, R.T., and Habecker, B.A. (2013) Infarct-derived chondroitin sulfate proteoglycans prevent sympathetic reinnervation after cardiac ischemia-reperfusion injury. Journal of Neuroscience, 33(17):7175-7183

Pellegrino, M.J. and Habecker, B.A. (2013) Signal Transducer and Activator of Transcription 3 integrates cytokine and neurotrophin signals to promote sympathetic axon regeneration. Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience. 56C:272-282

Lorentz, C.U., Parrish, D.C., Alston, E.N., Pellegrino, M.J.,Woodward, W.R., Hempstead, B.L., and Habecker, B.A.  (2013)  Sympathetic denervation of peri-infarct myocardium requires the p75 neurotrophin receptor. Experimental Neurology, in press

McCully, B.H., Hasan, W., Streiff, C.T., Houle, J., Woodward, W.R., Giraud, G.D., Brooks, V.L., and Habecker, B.A. (2013) Sympathetic cardiac hyperinnervation and atrial autonomic imbalance in diet-induced obesity promote cardiac arrhythmias.  AJP:Heart and Circulatory Physiology, in press

Siao, C-J.*, Lorentz, C.U.*, Kermani, P., MarinicT., Carter, J., McGrath, K., Padow V.A.,Mark, W., Falcone D.J., Cohen-Gould, L., Parrish, D.C.,Habecker, B.A.,Nykjaer,A., Ellenson, L.H., Tessarollo, L., and Hempstead, B.L. (2012) ProNGF, a cytokine induced after myocardial infarction in humans, targets pericytes to promote microvascular damage and activation.  Journal of Experimental Medicine, 209(12):2291-305

Hasan, W., Woodward, W.R., and Habecker B.A. (2012) Altered atrial neurotransmitter release in p75-/- and neuronal gp130 KO mice.  Neuroscience Letters, 529(1):55-59

Shi, X., Woodward, W.R., and Habecker B.A. (2012) Ciliary neurotrophic factor stimulates tyrosine hydroxylase activity.  Journal of Neurochemistry, 121(5): 700-4.

Herring, N., Cranley, J., Lokale, M.N., Li, D., Shanks, J., Alston, E.N., Girard, B.M., Carter, E., Parsons, R.L.,Habecker, B. A., and Paterson, D.J.  (2012) The cardiac sympathetic co-transmitter galanin reduces acetylcholine release and vagal bradycardia via a GalR1 receptor mediated protein kinase C-dependent pathway.  Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 52(3):667-76.

Shi, X. and Habecker B.A. (2012) gp130 cytokines stimulate proteasomal degradation of tyrosine hydroxylase via extracellular signal regulated kinases 1 & 2.  Journal of Neurochemistry, 120:239-247.   Subject of Editorial Highlight:  Nakashima, A. (2012) Proteasomal degradation of tyrosine hydroxylase and neurodegeneration.  J Neurochem. 120:199-201.

Ph.D. 1992, University of Washington
B.A. 1987, Spring Arbor University