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Kath CurtisKathleen S. Curtis , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Physiology

kath.curtis@okstate.edu
office #339 / phone - 918.561.8487

Lab #411 & 412 / phone - 918.561.8297

Education | Academic Positions | Funding | Selected Publications | Research Interests

Education

  • 1996
    Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1993
    M.S., University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
  • 1991
    B.S., Slippery Rock University, Slippery Rock, PA

Academic Positions

  • 2006 - Present
    Assistant Professor of Physiology, Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences, Tulsa, OK
  • 2001 - 2006
    Associate in Research and Faculty member, Department of Psycholgy and Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • 1999 - 2001
    Postdoctoral Research Associate, Department of Psycholgy and Program in Neuroscience, Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL
  • 1996 - 1999
    Postdoctoral Fellow, Dalton Cardiovascular Resarch Center, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO

Funding

  • 2009 - 2011
    Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology (HR09-123S)
    Estrogen, central pathways, and body fluid regulation
  • 2007, 2008, 2010
    INBRE Summer Undergraduate Research Program 
  • 2004 - 2009
    National Institutes of Health (R03 DC06360)
    NaCl taste responses: bases for sex difference in rat
  • 1998
    American Heart Association
    Postdoctoral Grant
  • 1997 - 1999
    Postdoctoral Training Grant (NIH, T32HL07094)

Selected Publications

Stricker, EM, MR Bykowski, CA Smith-Hossler, KS Curtis, and JC Smith. Gastric emptying and intestinal absorption of ingested water and saline by hypovolemic rats. Physiology and Behavior 98: 570-578, 2009.

Jones, AB and KS Curtis. Differential effects of estradiol on drinking by ovariectomized rats in response to hypertonic NaCl or isoproterenol: Implications for hyper- vs. hypo-osmotic stimuli for water intake. Physiology and Behavior. 98: 421-426, 2009.

Curtis, KS. Estrogen and the central control of body fluid balance. Physiology and Behavior clear97: 180-192, 2009.

Vaughn, JM, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Behavioral and electrophysiological taste responses change following brief or prolonged dietary sodium deprivation. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 295: R1754-R1761, 2008.

JM Stratford, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Linoleic acid increases chorda tympani nerve responses to and behavioral preferences for monosodium glutamate by male and female rats American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 295: R764-R772, 2008.

Smith, CA, KS Curtis, JC Smith, and EM Stricker. Presystemic influences on thirst, salt appetite, and vasopressin secretion in the hypovolemic rat. American Journal of Physiology-Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 292: R2089-R2099, 2007.

Krause, EG, KS Curtis, JP Markle, and RJ Contreras. Oestrogen affects the cardiovascular and central responses to isoproterenol of female rats. Journal of Physiology 582: 435-447, 2007.

Dietz, DD, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Taste, salience, and increased sodium chloride ingestion after repeated sodium depletions. Chemical Senses 31: 33-41, 2006.

Krause, EG, KS Curtis, TL Stincic, JP Markle, and RJ Contreras. Oestrogen and weight loss decrease isoproterenol-induced fos IR and AT1 mRNA in the subfornical organ of female rats. Journal of Physiology 573: 251-262, 2006.

Curtis, KS and RJ Contreras. Sex differences in electrophysiological and behavioral responses to NaCl taste. Behavioral Neuroscience 120: 917-924, 2006.

Curtis, KS, JM Stratford, and RJ Contreras. Estrogen increases the taste threshold for sucrose in rats. Physiology and Behavior 86: 281-286, 2005.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, DL Wong, and RJ Contreras. Gestational and early postnatal dietary NaCl levels affect NaCl intake, but not stimulated water intake, by adult rats. American Journal of Physiology- Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology 286: R1043-R1050, 2004.

Krause, EG, KS Curtis, and RJ Contreras. Estrogen influences stimulated water intake by ovariectomized female rats. Physiology and Behavior 87: 579-583, 2003.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, and RJ Contreras. Cardiovascular function and circadian patterns in rats after area postrema lesions or prolonged food restriction. Neuroscience Letters 350: 46-50, 2003.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, RJ Contreras. Fos expression in non-catecholaminergic neurons in medullary and pontine nuclei after volume depletion induced by polyethylene glycol. Brain Research 948: 149-154, 2002.

Curtis, KS, EG Krause, and RJ Contreras. Altered NaCl taste responses precede increased NaCl ingestion during Na+ deprivation. Physiology and Behavior 72: 743-749, 2001. 

Contreras, RJ, DL Wong, R Henderson, KS Curtis, and JC Smith. High dietary NaCl early in development enhances mean arterial pressure of adult rats. Physiology and Behavior 71: 173-181, 2000.

Hasser, EM, JT Cunningham, MJ Sullivan, KS Curtis, EH Blaine, and M Hay. The area postrema and sympathetic nervous system effects of vasopressin and angiotensin II. Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology 27: 432-436, 2000. 

Curtis, KS, W Huang, JG Verbalis, AF Sved, and EM Stricker. Impaired osmoregulatory responses in rats with area postrema lesions. American Journal of Physiology 277: R209-R219, 1999.

Curtis, KS, JT Cunningham, and CM Heesch. Fos expression in brain stem nuclei of pregnant rats after hydralazine-induced hypotension. American Journal of Physiology 277: R532-R540, 1999.

Research Interests

Central nervous system processes in the maintenance of body fluid homeostasis; sex differences in body fluid regulation. I use neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, physiological, and behavioral methods to investigate central pathways and neurotransmitter systems involved in body fluid regulation.

The appropriate amount, concentration, and distribution of body fluids is critical for survival. Not surprisingly then, fluid volume and osmolality are maintained within a narrow range through concerted physiological (blood pressure, heart rate, sympathetic nerve activity), hormonal (angiotensin, aldosterone, vasopressin, oxytocin), and behavioral (ingestion of water and salt) mechanisms. The goal of my research is to understand the central processes by which diverse sensory signals are integrated and coordinated with physiological and behavioral output to maintain body fluid homeostasis. I employ neuroanatomical, electrophysiological, physiological, and behavioral methods to investigate the central pathways and neurotransmitter systems involved in body fluid regulation in studies that focus on two general areas:  1) central responses to acute and chronic perturbations of body fluid balance and 2) sex differences in body fluid regulation. 

Ongoing studies are examining estrogen-mediated sex differences in central neural responses to volume loss, as well as to challenges to body sodium levels. These studies examine activity in phenotypically-identified neurons in central areas involved in body fluid regulation; the contribution of peripheral neural and hormonal signals to activity in these areas; the functional connectivity among neurons in these areas; and compensatory behavioral (e.g., salt intake, water intake) and physiological (e.g., blood pressure, heart rate) responses to perturbations of body sodium or body fluid volume. The overall goal is to determine whether specific subpopulations of neurons are differentially activated by and/or mediate compensatory responses to body fluid challenges.

The importance of these studies for human health issues is clear. Hypertension and stroke are epidemic and in many cases the mechanism(s) remain unclear. Moreover, estrogen has been suggested to have ‘cardioprotective’ effects, a health issue likely to have increasing impact as the population ages. Thus, this research not only will further understanding of the role of the central nervous system in body fluid regulation, but also has important clinical implications.