Even if we don't think about it, we all continuously breathe from birth until death. The Hodges Lab is a vibrant group of scientists dedicated to understanding how our brains unconsciously control breathing. We are keenly interested in how blood pH and carbon dioxide are sensed by the brain, particularly during early life and sleep, and if these mechanisms fail in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) or are altered in developmental lung diseases like Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia (BPD). Along with our close collaborators in the Forster Lab, we are also determined to better understand how opioids depress ventilation and other vital physiological functions.
Dr. Matt Hodges completed his BA in Biology at Carleton College in Northfield, MN (1998), before joining Dr. Bert Forster's Lab, first as a technician and then as a PhD student (2000) in the Physiology Department at the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW). Upon completing his PhD (2004), he joined the lab of Dr. George Richerson as a post-doc at Yale University's School of Medicine. He then rejoined the Physiology Department at MCW (2009) as a faculty member, where he serves as the Principal Investigator of the lab.
We use a variety of scientific approaches to understand how the brain regulates breathing in health and disease. We use fluorescence-assisted cell sorting and state-of-the-art molecular genetics techniques to uncover genetic variations in different brain cells that sense pH and CO2 (Central Respiratory Chemoreceptors). We also perform electrophysiologic recordings of individual neurons, and study breathing in unique knockout and transgenic rats using pharmacological manipulations within the brainstem.
Many trainees have contributed to the ongoing work in the Hodges Lab. Currently, we have a post-doctoral associate Dr. Gary Mouradian, PhD, a Visiting Scholar Dr. Paul Martino, lab technician Santiago Alvarez, PhD students Anna Manis and Matt Dillard, and a high school student Amanda Mui. We also work closely with Dr. Bert Forster and his lab, including Lab Manager Suzanne Neumueller and PhD student Nick Burgraff. We welcome additional interested graduate students, post-docs and technicians (click link below).