The primary goal of the research carried out in this lab is to better understand the mechanisms that underlie complex cardiorespiratory contdynamics during sleep, using a combination of noninvasive instrumentation and computational modeling. In particular, several of our research projects currently focus on the effects of sleep-disordered breathing or sleep apnea on cardiovascular function. Newer projects include the investigation of the links between metabolic and autonomic control in obese patients with sleep apnea, as well as the development of noninvasive methods to predict vaso-occlusive crises in sickle-cell anemia.
The cumulative evidence suggests that people with sleep apnea are more likely to develop various forms of cardiovascular disease, including hypertension, stroke, coronary heart disease and heart failure. Sleep apnea involves the dynamic interaction of three major physiological control systems: respiratory, cardiovascular and sleep regulation. To delineate cause from effect in the complex dynamics that arise from these interactions, we employ a combination of “structured” (or parametric) modeling and closed-loop minimal modeling approaches to analyze and interpret physiological data obtained from noninvasive studies in humans.