Cardiovascular and Tumor Physiology Laboratory

Director: Dr. Brad Behnke

Lab Overview

Lab graphic

The Cardiovascular and Tumor Physiology Laboratory seeks to understand the basic physiological mechanisms responsible for alterations in tissue blood flow and oxygen delivery, and microvascular dysfunction with aging and disease. To investigate this, we utilize preclinical models of aging and pathological conditions such as heart failure, prolonged mechanical ventilation, prostate and breast cancer. Our lab has secured funding from the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Johnson Cancer Research Center (K-State) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). The CTP lab’s current projects include:

  • The impact of aging, biological sex, and heart failure on respiratory muscle blood flow regulation and microvascular function
  • The effects of mechanical ventilation and muscular disuse on diaphragm perfusion and vascular function
  • Manipulation of the tumor microenvironment to enhance conventional cancer therapy outcomes
  • Effects of real and simulated microgravity on the cardiovascular system

Dryden Baumfalk

Masters Student, Kinesiology


Selected Publications

1. Kunkel ON, Rand TA, Pyle JG, Baumfalk DR, Horn AG, Opoku-Acheampong AB, Ade CJ, Musch TI, Ramsey MW, Delp MD, Behnke BJ. Head-up tilt does not enhance tumor perfusion or oxygenation in young rats. Physiological Reports. 10(24): e15548, 2023.

2. Horn AG, Kunkel ON, Schulze KM, Baumfalk DR, Weber RE, Poole DC, Behnke BJ. Supplemental oxygen administration during mechanical ventilation reduces diaphragmatic blood flow and oxygen delivery. J Appl Physiol. 132(5):1190-1200, 2022.

3. Baumfalk DR, Opoku-Acheampong AB, Caldwell JT, Butanes ALE, Horn AG, Kunkel ON, Copp SW, Ade CJ, Musch TI, Behnke BJ. Effects of high-intensity training on prostate cancer-induced cardiac atrophy. Am J Transl Res. 13(1):197-209, 2021.

4. Horn AG, Baumfalk DR, Schulze KM, Kunkel ON, Colburn TD, Weber RE, Bruells CS, Musch TI, Poole DC, Behnke BJ. Effects of elevated positive end-expiratory pressure on diaphragmatic blood flow and vascular resistance during mechanical ventilation. J Appl Physiol. (129): 626-635, 2020.

5. Horn AG, Davis RT 3rd, Baumfalk DR, Kunkel ON, Bruells CS, McCullough DJ, Opoku-Acheampong AB, Poole DC, Behnke BJ. Impaired diaphragm resistance vessel vasodilation with prolonged mechanical ventilation. J Appl Physiol. 127(2):423-431, 2019.

6. Opoku-Acheampong AB, Baumfalk DR, Horn AG, Kunkel ON, Ganta CK, McCullough DJ, Siemann DW, Muller-Delp J, Behnke BJ. Prostate cancer cell growth characteristics in serum and prostate-conditioned media from moderate intensity exercise trained healthy and tumor-bearing rats. Am. J Cancer Res. 9(4):650-667, 2019.

Lab Personnel

Andrew Horn, M.S. Doctoral Student, Predoctoral Research Fellow
Olivia Kunkel, M.S. Doctoral Student
Danny Tamura Undergraduate Student;
Kristina Morrison Undergraduate Student

Dr. Behnke in lab