Don Bolser Awarded Grant to Investigate Influence of Opioids on the Brainstem Respiratory Network

Don Bolser

Dr. Donald Bolser, BREATHE Steering Committee Member and Professor and Associate Chair in the Department of Physiological Sciences, was awarded an R01 research grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to study the “Influence of Opioids on the Brainstem Respiratory Network.” Opioid use is associated with life-threatening depression of breathing and aspiration by actions in the central nervous system. Further, opioids are often prescribed to older adults who are particularly at risk of sleep disordered breathing and pneumonia due to impaired control of respiratory muscles by the brain. This study will allow Dr. Bolser and his team to identify elements of the respiratory control network that participate in opioid-mediated reconfiguration and develop a new predictive model featuring the network-scale mechanisms that contribute to opioid depression of breathing. This new knowledge will provide a critical step in understanding the network scale mechanisms of action of opioids to depress breathing. Congratulations, Dr. Bolser!