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Kath Curtis Laboratory

Lab Location/Complete Address:

Room E-474Kath Curtis

Department of Pharmacology and Physiology

Oklahoma State University Center for Health Sciences

1111 West 17th Street

Tulsa, OK 74107


Lab Lead Contact:

Kathleen S. Curtis, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Physiology



Lab Personnel:

Kath Curtis, Ph.D. – Primary Investigator

Alexis Jones, M.S. - Ph.D. candidate

Rebecca Naukum, M.S. - Ph.D. student

Halie Muckelrath, B.S. – D.O./M.S. student




Research Description:

The appropriate amount, concentration, and distribution of body fluids are critical for survival. Not surprisingly then, disturbances of body fluid volume or osmolality elicit compensatory physiological (blood pressure, heart rate, sympathetic nerve activity), hormonal (angiotensin, aldosterone, vasopressin, oxytocin), and behavioral (ingestion of water and salt) responses. Similarly, body weight regulation is a complex physiological process, in which hormonal (leptin, insulin, ghrelin) and neural (vagus) input influences feeding behavior.The central nervous system (CNS) is critical in coordinating and integrating these responses.

My research investigates central pathways and neurotransmitter systems involved in body fluid regulation and body weight regulation in rats, with a particular focus on how estrogen influences CNS activity and neurotransmitters in specific central areas. We investigate the effect of estrogen on the activation of phenotypically-identified neurons in central areas involved in body fluid and body weight regulation; on the contribution of peripheral signals to such activation; and on compensatory behavioral and physiological responses to perturbations in either. Recently, we also have begun to examine the effect of exercise and body fluid challenges on stress/anxiety responses, and how estrogen may influence those responses. The overall goal of these studies is to determine how estrogen influences activity in subpopulations of neurons that are selectively activated by and/or mediate compensatory responses to stress, body fluid or body weight challenges.


Instrument and Technique Specialties:

Immunohistochemistry, light and epifluorescent microscopy, ELISAs of circulating hormones, telemetric recording of blood pressure and heart rate, behavioral monitoring


Funding Sources

 Oklahoma Center for the Advancement of Science and Technology

Our Contact Details

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Our Mission:

To develop bioscience research in Tulsa and to position Tulsa to be a leader in bioscience education, training, research and innovation by utilizing the assets of all area institutions of higher education.