Mark T. Nelson, Ph.D.
Mark T. Nelson, Ph.D.

Adjunct Faculty


UNIVERSITY DISTINGUISHED PROFESSOR and CHAIR Education: 1980 Ph.D., Neural Sciences Washington University, St. Louis, MO Advisor: Prof. M.P. Blaustein 1976 B.A., Mathematics & Biology Tufts University, Medford, MA with Honors 1973 Undergraduate Studies Swathmore College, Swathmore, PA Academic Positions: 06/96 - present Chair, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Vermont 10/06 - present Professor, Institute of Cardiovascular Science, School of Medicine, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK 09/10 - present Professor, Department of Surgery, University of Vermont (Tertiary) 10/12 - present Visiting Professor of Pharmacology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK 05/93 - present Professor, Department of Molecular Physiology & Biophysics, University of Vermont (Secondary) 07/92 - present Professor, Department of Pharmacology, College of Medicine, University of Vermont 07/95 - 05/96 Interim Chair, Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont 07/90 - 06/92 Associate Professor with Tenure, Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont 06/86 - 06/90 Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Vermont 09/84 - 05/86 Assistant Professor, Department of Pharmacology, University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, FL 11/82 - 08/84 Research Assistant Professor, Dept of Physiology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD, Sponsor: Prof. B.K. Krueger 06/81 - 10/82 Research Fellow of the Alexander von Humbolt-Stiftung, Fakult�t f�r Biologie, Universit�t Konstanz, West Germany. Sponsor: Prof. P. L�uger 04/80 - 05/81 Research Fellow of the American Heart Association, Dept. of Physiology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, Sponsor: Prof. M.P. Blaustein


Office: B333A Given 802-656-2500

Research Description

Pharmacology - The overall goal of the research in Dr. Nelson's laboratory is to understand the control of smooth muscle and endothelial cell function by ion channels and calcium signaling. There are three major research areas in the lab: 1.To understand the mechanisms by which computationally active neurons in the brain control local cerebral blood flow (CBF) ("neurovascular coupling"), using optical techniques to measure calcium signaling and arteriolar diameter in the neurovascular unit (neurons, astrocytes, arteriolar smooth muscle and endothelium) in brain slices as well as CBF in vivo, electrophysiological techniques to measure membrane currents and membrane potential of astrocytes, smooth muscle and endothelial cells from parenchymal arterioles. Arteriolar diameter is also measured in isolated pressurized parenchymal arterioles. 2.To understand how sympathetic nerves, smooth muscle cells and endothelial cells communicate ("vascular crosstalk") to control the function of resistance-sized peripheral arteries. 3.To understand the roles of ion channels and calcium signaling in the control of urinary bladder function in health and disease. Approaches cover the spectrum from molecular, cellular, intact tissue, whole organ and in vivo (local CBF, blood pressure, urodynamics). A number of genetic mouse models are used to unravel control mechanisms. Relevant ion channels in smooth muscle, endothelium and astrocytes are being explored, including voltage-dependent calcium channels, inward rectifier potassium channels, calcium-sensitive BK, IK, SK channels, voltage-dependent potassium channels, ATP-sensitive potassium channels, TRPV4 channels, ryanodine receptor channels, IP3R channels, and P2X1 receptor channels. The ultimate objections are to understand the basic mechanisms for ion channel control of local cerebral blood flow, peripheral resistance and urinary bladder function, and using this information to understand pathologies and possible new therapeutic interventions.

Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, May 2011

Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, May 2011 Isolated MCAs with attached parenchymal arterioles. Representative photomicrograph of an isolated MCA and single parenchymal arteriole stained with UCH-L1 (green), aquaporin 4 (red), and DAPI (blue) to detect nerves, astrocytes, and nuclei, respectively, showing that parenchymal arterioles are encased by astrocytic processes and lack extrinsic nerves. There was no detectable astrocyte staining on isolated MCAs and little or no detectable nerve staining on parenchymal arterioles. The image is a two-dimensional representation of a compressed Z-stack series. Scale bar, 50μm. DAPI, 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole; MCA, middle cerebral artery; UCH-L1, ubiquitin carboxyl-terminal hydrolase L1.


Faculty Highlighted Publications

Hill-Eubanks DC, Gonzales AL, Sonkusare SK, Nelson MT. Vascular TRP Channels: Performing Under Pressure and Going with the Flow. Physiology Review. 2014 Sept; 29(5): 343-360. PMID: 25180264

Mingin GC, Pearson A, Erickson CS, Nelson MT, Vizzard MA. Social stress induces changes in urinary bladder function, bladder NGF content and generalized bladder inflammation in mice. AM J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Aug 6. PMID: 25100077

Sonkusare SK, Dalsgaard T, Bonev AD, Hill-Eubanks DC, Kotlikoff MI, Scott JD, Santana LF, Nelson MT. AKAP150-dependent cooperative TRPV4 channel gating is central to endothelium-dependent vasodilation and is disrupted in hypertension. Science Signaling. 2014 Jul 8. Journal cover. PMID: 25005230

Nausch B, Rode F, Jorgensen S, Nardi A, Korsgaard MP, Hougaard C, Brown WD, Bonev AD, Dyhring T, Strobaek D, Olesen SP, Christophersen P, Grunnet M, Nelson MT, Ronn LC. NS19504: a novel BK channel activator with relaxing effect on bladder smooth muscle spontaneous phasic contractions. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2014 June 20. PMID: 24951278

Gonzales AL, Yang Y, Sullivan MN, Sanders L, Dabertrand F, Hill-Eubanks DC, Nelson MT, Earley S. A PLCy1-Dependent, Force-Sensitive Signaling Network in the Myogenic Constriction of Cerebral Arteries. Science Signaling. 2014 May 27. PMID: 24866019

Longden TA, Dabertrand F, Hill-Eubanks DC, Hammack SE, Nelson MT. Stress-induced glucocordicoid signaling remodels neurovascular coupling throug impairment of cerebrovascular inwardly rectifying K+ channel function. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2014 May 7. PMID: 24808139, PMCID: PMC4034203

Mercado J, Baylie R, Navedo MF, Yuan C, Scott JD, Nelson MT, Brayden JE, Santana LF. Local control of TRPV4 channels by AKAP150-targeted PKC in arterial smooth muscle. J Gen Physiol. 2014 May; 143(5): 559-575. PMID: 24778429, PMCID: PMC4003184

Krishnamoorthy G, Sonkusare SK, Heppner TJ, Nelson MT. Opposing roles of smooth muscle BK channels and ryanodine receptors in the regulation of nerve-evoked constriction of mesenteric resistance arteries. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Feb 7. PMID: 24508642, PMCID: PMC3962638

Dunn KM, Nelson MT. Neurovascular signaling in the brain and the pathological consequences of hypertension. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Jan 1; 306(1): H1-14. PMID: 24163077, PMCID: PMC3920149

All Nelson publications

Selected Awards

Louis N. Katz Research Prize for Young Investigators, Honorable Mention (AHA) 1982

University Scholar, University of Vermont 1996

Estabished Investigator of the American Heart Association 1985 - 1990

Vermont Academy of Sciences and Engineering, member 1998 - present

Distinguished Lecturer, North West Universities of England; The Universities of Liverpool and Manchester 2006

Graduate Student's Choice Speaker of the Year, Student Research Day, University of New Mexico School of Medicine Biomedical Sciences Graduate Program, Albuquerque, NM 2008

Graduate Student's Choice Speaker of the Year, Department of Pharmacology & Toxicology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 2008

5th David F. Bohr Lecture on Vascular Smooth Muscle, 10th International Symposium on Mechanisms of Vasodilation 2009

University Distinguished Professor, University of Vermont 2009 - present

Fellow of the Biophysical Society 2009 - present

Lamport Lecture, University of Washington, Department of Physiology and Biophysics 2009

Swift Memorial Lecture, Columbia University, Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics 2009

Astor Lecturer, University of Oxford, Department of Pharmacology 2011

Keynote Speaker, FASEB Smooth Muscle Conference, Snowmass Village, CO 2012

15th Annual James W. Fisher Distinguished Lectureship in Pharmacology, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 2012

Society of General Physiologists Travel Scholarship Award, Harvard Univesity 2012

Keynote Speaker, Ferid Murad Lecture, 6th International Conference on cGMP, Erfurt, Germany 2013

Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung Fellowship, Universität Konstanz, West Germany 1981 - 1982, 1984

American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Maryland 1980 - 1981

National Institutes of Health Predoctoral Fellowship, Washington University 1978 - 1980

National Science Foundation Summer Fellowship, Swathmore College 1974