Graduate Studies Faculty

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Shaun Morrison, Ph.D.

Senior Scientist, Neurological Sciences Institute
Admin Unit: Neurological Sciences Institute
Physiology & Pharmacology
Research Interests:
central autonomic regulation sympathetic nervous system thermoregulation energy balance blood pressure cardiac arrhythmia adrenal catecholamines obesity hypertension diabetes in vivo electrophysiology » PubMed Listing
Preceptor Rotations
Dr. Morrison has not indicated availability for preceptor rotations at this time.
Faculty Mentorship
Dr. Morrison has not indicated availability as a mentor at this time.

Summary of Current Research

The specific circuits within the CNS that regulate autonomic function are dedicated to the maintenance of an optimal cellular environment (homeostasis), to the visceral support of behavior and to the bodyís adaptation to a variety of environmental challenges such as gravity; availability of food, water and oxygen; and disease. Autonomic control networks in the brain adjust the level of activity on sympathetic nerves and determine the oscillations, including a circadian variation, that characterize sympathetic nerve activity. I use electrophysiological and anatomical approaches to investigate the functional organization, rhythmicities, developmental influences and pharmacology of the CNS circuits that regulate blood pressure, blood glucose, body temperature, and other critical homeostatic variables. My research encompasses three main areas of investigation in this rapidly growing field of autonomic neuroscience. (1) How are autonomic neural pathways organized to allow for the specific or patterned activation of sympathetic nerves to the many tissues that maintain homeostasis, support behavior or cope with the environment? (2) How do supraspinal inputs and specific neurotransmitter systems affect functionally specific sympathetic outputs? (3) How do reflex and other inputs gain access to networks generating basal sympathetic tone to functionally unique tissues and what are the mechanisms that produce their differential reflex responses and oscillatory components? The answers to these basic questions are used to understand altered central autonomic regulation found in models of disease or after manipulation of the neonatal environment. This research will increase our understanding of disease states such as hypertension, obesity, diabetes, autonomic hyperreflexia and cardiac arrhythmia which are associated with altered regulation of the sympathetic outflows to different tissues.

Recent Publications


  • Ph.D., 1980, Physiology and Biophysics, University of Vermont

Previous Positions

Non-Academic Interests