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Cardio-Oncology and Autonomic Physiology Laboratory

Directors: Dr. Brad Behnke & Dr. Steven Copp

Research Interests

Dr. Brad Behnke

  • Manipulation of tumor microenvironments to enhance conventional cancer therapy outcomes
  • Cardiovascular regulation of skeletal muscle and adipose tissue perfusion with age and pathological conditions including diabetes, heart failure and mechanical ventilation
  • Effects of real and simulated microgravity on the cardiovascular system

Dr. Steven Copp

  • Mechanisms evoking the autonomic and cardiovascular adjustments to exercise
  • The metabolites and receptors associated with increased  stimulation of skeletal muscle sensory neurons during exercise
  • The effects of cardiovascular disease and muscle ischemia on the exercise pressor reflex

Lab Objectives

1. The primary research goal in the laboratory is to understand how mechanical and metabolic signals associated with skeletal muscle contractions evoke reflex increases in sympathetic nervous system activity, blood pressure, and heart rate.  Specifically, we are interested in understanding how various forms of cardiovascular disease exaggerate those reflex signals which have been shown to contribute to exercise intolerance and an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events (e.g., stroke or heart attack) in multiple patient populations.

2. We are interested in facilitating the delivery and outcomes from conventional cancer treatment through the manipulation of the cardiovascular system with aerobic exercise therapy.  This involves both direct and indirect interactions between the systemic circulation, the host-tissue, and the tumor microenvironment and associated oxygenation.

Current Projects

  1. Effects of chronic muscle ischemia on the skeletal muscle mechanoreflex
  2. Determining whether there are differences between males and females in regards to how chronic muscle ischemia impacts the exercise pressor reflex
  3. Effects of chronic muscle ischemia on the skeletal muscle reflex control of ventilation
  4. Exercise and prostate cancer radiation responses

Lab Personnel

Korynne Rollins
MS student
Alexander B. Opoku-Acheampong
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Evan Kempf
MS Student
Tyler Hopkins
MS Student
Bailey Sanderson
MS Student
Alec Butenas
Undergraduate Student
Dryden Baumfalk 
MS Student
Joseph Pyle
Concurrent BS/MS student
Taylor Rand
Concurrent BS/MS student
Savannah Ardery
Undergraduate Student
Cameron Jackson 
Undergraduate Student
Andrew Horn
Undergraduate Student
Lab picture  Lab picture

Contact Information

Dr. Brad Behnke 

Justin Hall 139

Dr. Steven Copp

Justin Hall 139B