Photo of Anusha Mishra

Anusha Mishra

  •      (503) 464-8958

    Portland Campus

    • 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).

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Areas of interest

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


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

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


  • "Angiogenic neovessels promote tissue hypoxia" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America September 20 2016
  • "Astrocytes mediate neurovascular signaling to capillary pericytes but not to arterioles" Nature Neuroscience December 1 2016
  • "Capillary pericytes regulate cerebral blood flow in health and disease" Nature  2014
  • "Oxygen modulation of neurovascular coupling in the retina" Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America October 25 2011
  • "Aminoguanidine reverses the loss of functional hyperemia in a rat model of diabetic retinopathy" Frontiers in Neuroenergetics  2012
  • "What is a pericyte?" Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow and Metabolism February 1 2016
  • "Dense core vesicles resemble active-zone transport vesicles and are diminished following synaptogenesis in mature hippocampal slices" Neuroscience  2006
  • "Erratum" Nature Protocols January 1 2014
  • "Spontaneous glial calcium waves in the retina develop over early adulthood" Journal of Neuroscience September 9 2009
  • "Assessment of glial function in the in vivo retina"   2012
  • "Interpreting bold" Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences October 5 2016
  • "Inhibition of inducible nitric oxide synthase reverses the loss of functional hyperemia in diabetic retinopathy" GLIA December 2010
  • "Binaural blood flow control by astrocytes" Journal of Physiology  2016
  • "Imaging pericytes and capillary diameter in brain slices and isolated retinae" Nature Protocols February 2014
  • "Keeping the Brain Well Fed" Neuron July 25 2018
  • "Therapeutic Genome Editing in Cardiovascular Diseases" JACC: Basic to Translational Science February 1 2019
  • "The High Energy Cost of Theta–Gamma Activity during REM Sleep" Trends in Neurosciences April 1 2019
  • "Astrocyte dysfunction and neurovascular impairment in neurological disorders" Neurochemistry International September 1 2019
  • "Amyloid β oligomers constrict human capillaries in alzheimer’s disease via signaling to pericytes" Science January 1 2019
  • "Pericyte constriction underlies capillary derecruitment during hyperemia in the setting of arterial stenosis" American Journal of Physiology August 1 2019

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