All are invited to the CEDAR/MRC Epidemiology Seminar by:
Adults who were born with low birth weight are at increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease in adulthood. However, little is known about the contribution of cardiac mechanisms to this increased disease risk. Using a mouse model we evaluated cardiovascular function at the whole animal, organ, and cell level to determine the effect of a short episode of nutritionally-induced growth retardation on adult functional capacity following nutritional rehabilitation. Interestingly, mice that were undernourished development presented with reduced physical activity level engagement, impaired exercise capacity, and impairment in contraction mechanics of the heart. This phenotype is hypothesized to be due to alterations in the calcium kinetics of the contracting cardiomyocytes.
David P. Ferguson has two distinct research interests. The first is how early life nutrition influences cardiovascular development as it relates to functional capacity in adulthood. It has been shown that children who are malnourished at birth have a higher incidence of cardiovascular disease in adulthood. The goal of his laboratory is to investigate the mechanistic changes that occur due to poor diet and propose therapeutic countermeasures to increase cardiovascular function and decrease mortality rates. The second area of research focuses on the physiological stress placed on automotive race car drivers and pit crews. He is working with NASCAR, Indycar, and Formula 1 teams to increase performance and safety of drivers and crew members.