Dr. Arash Tadjalli, mentored by Dr. Gordon Mitchell, succeeded in a highly competitive program and has been awarded a Parker B. Francis Fellowship sponsored by the Francis Family Foundation. The Parker B. Francis Fellowship is intended to support the development of outstanding investigators embarking on careers in pulmonary medicine, critical care and respiratory disease. The 3-year Fellowship Award is designed to help investigators as they transition to independent, self-supporting, faculty members. Dr. Tadjalli’s award concerns the mechanisms by which cross talks between neurons and glia regulate the expression of spinal respiratory motor plasticity in the healthy brain, as well as during pathological conditions that lead to inflammation of the nervous system.
Dr. Tadjalli’s graduate research work concerned the mechanisms of neuroplasticity in brainstem circuits that regulate upper airway motor activity in vivo. His research led to the identification of a novel form of noradrenergic-dependent respiratory plasticity triggered by repeated airway obstructions (modeling sleep apnea), which strengthens the ability of brainstem respiratory motoneurons to elicit stronger contractions of upper airway respiratory muscle. Three years ago he joined Dr. Mitchell’s laboratory to study the mechanism of spinal motor plasticity. Specifically, he is interested in studying mechanisms of cell-cell interactions in giving rise to spinal respiratory motor plasticity during health, as well as in disease states characterized by neuroinflammation.