Anusha Mishra

  • Assistant Professor of Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, School of Medicine
  • Assistant Professor of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, School of Medicine
  • Assistant Professor of Neurology, School of Medicine
  • Neuroscience Graduate Program, School of Medicine


Astrocytes are an abundant glial cell type in the central nervous system (CNS). Increasingly, scientists are recognizing important contributions of astrocytes to many aspects of CNS function, one of them being neurovascular coupling. Dr. Mishra conducted her doctoral research in the laboratory of Dr. Eric Newman at the University of Minnesota, where she studied the role of astrocytes in retinal neurovascular coupling and how this is disrupted in several pathologies. She discovered a drug that may reverse the loss of neurovascular coupling in diabetic retinas and potentially prevent vision loss in diabetic patients. Dr. Mishra then moved to University College London to do her postdoctoral work in the laboratory of Dr. David Attwell, where she demonstrated that astrocyte-mediated signaling is essential in regulating capillary blood flow in the cortex. She also found that pericytes often constrict capillaries and then die following ischemia, severely reducing blood supply to the afflicted region. Further, current work from her lab has revealed a significant suppression of neurovascular coupling at capillaries after stroke. These findings together suggests that a disrupton in microvascular regulation may be the cause of continued hypoperfusion and neuronal loss in the peri-infarct that is observed even after clot removal, a phenomenon known as no-reperfusion. 

Following stroke, astrocytes change their morphology and expression pattern in a process known as reactive astrogliosis, however, the functional outcomes manifested by these changes are not understood. Current work in Dr. Mishra’s lab investigates the possibility that the constriction of capillaries and loss of neurovascular coupling observed after stroke may be due to pathological signaling from reactive astrocytes. Insights into how reactive astrocytes lead to microvascular dysfunction have the potential to generate novel therapeutic approaches which might, in combination with clot removal and neuroprotective agents, prevent or stop damage and re-establish healthy brain function. Furthermore, this research may have implications beyond the field of stroke, as astrogliosis and vascular dysfunction are common features of many diseases of the CNS (including Alzheimer's disease, traumatic brain injury, vascular dementia, and chronic hypertention).


  • B.A., 2004, Minnesota State University, Moorhead
  • Ph.D., 2011, University of MInnesota

Honors and awards

  • 3M Science and Technology Graduate Fellowship - 2005-2009
  • Stark Award for Advanced Scholarship - 2008
  • Visual Neuroscience Training Program T32 fellowship - 2010-11
  • Young Investigator Travel Fellowship, International Society for Eye Research - 2012
  • Distinguished Alumni Lecture, Department of Neuroscience, University of Minnesota - 2018

Memberships and associations

  • Society for Neuroscience
  • International Society of Cerebral Blood flow and Metabolism
  • American Heart Association

Areas of interest

  • Neuron-glial and glial-glial interactions
  • Reactive astrogliosis
  • Neurovascular coupling
  • Ischemic injury
  • Neurodegenerative disorders



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