Birren Lab

We study the development of cardiac noradrenergic and cholinergic systems in the peripheral nervous system

Modulatory neurotransmitter systems can profoundly influence circuit function and behavior. These effects range from learning and memory processes to the control of peripheral organ function.

Developmental signals play critical roles in establishing normal adult functions of these modulatory systems in both the central and peripheral nervous systems. When regulation of these systems is disrupted, it can lead to the progression of pathological states such as heart disease and developmental disorders.

Lab Members

Susan Birren

Principle Investigator

Marian Haburcak

Research Associate

Melda Buyukozturk

PhD Candidate in Molecular and Cell Biology

Josh Harrison

PhD Candidate in Neuroscience

Yi (Brian) Zhang

Master's Student in Biotechnology '23

Nathalie Vieux-Gresham

Undergraduate '23

Petra Dujmic

Undergraduate '24

Recent Publications

  • Haburčák M, Harrison J, Buyukozturk MM, Sona S, Bates S, Birren SJ. "Heightened sympathetic neuron activity and altered cardiomyocyte properties in spontaneously hypertensive rats during the postnatal period." Front Synaptic Neurosci. 2022 Sep 30;14:995474. doi: 10.3389/fnsyn.2022.995474. PMID: 36247695; PMCID: PMC9561918.

  • Clyburn C, Birren SJ. Nature. 2022 May;605(7908):32-34. "Crosstalk between nerves, immune cells and plaques drives atherosclerosis." doi: 10.1038/d41586-022-00508-6. PMID: 35478020

  • Enes J, Haburčák M, Sona S, Gerard N, Mitchell AC, Fu W, Birren SJ. (2020) "Satellite glial cells modulate cholinergic transmission between sympathetic neurons." PLoS One. 2020 Feb 4. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0218643

  • Habecker BA, Anderson ME, Birren SJ, Fukuda K, Herring N, Hoover DB, Kanazawa H, Paterson DJ, Ripplinger CM. (2016) "Molecular and cellular neurocardiology: Development, cellular and molecular adaptations to heart disease." J Physiol. 2016 Apr 6. doi: 10.1113/JP27184.

  • Kreipke, R.E. and Birren, S.J. (2015) "Innervating sympathetic neurons regulate heart size and the timing of cardiomyocyte cell cycle withdrawal." J. Physiol. 593:5057-73.

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