Dr. Andrea Corcoran joined Castleton’s Department of Natural Sciences as an Exercise Science professor in the Fall of 2020. She now shares her time between this department and the Department of Health and Exercise Sciences. She has a broad background in the neural control of breathing and in physiology, having used several different techniques and approaches to understand the mechanisms underlying respiratory control, particularly as it relates to homeostatic regulation. Prior to joining the faculty at Castleton, she was an assistant professor of biology at Southern Vermont College.
As an undergraduate, Dr. Corcoran studied both the role of development and species on physiological responses to temperature. Her graduate work (both Masters and PhD) focused on central control, particularly as it relates to chemoreception (detecting levels of blood oxygen, carbon dioxide, and pH). As a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine, studying the underlying pathophysiology of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) in rodent models, Dr. Corcoran performed whole-animal metabolic measurements looking at the role of serotonin and GABA in cardiovascular and respiratory responses to hypoxia, hypocapnia, hypercapnia, and temperature. Using modern and novel genetic technology, she was able to acutely and reversibly silence sets of rhombomere-specific derived serotonin neurons and investigate their role in various environmental challenges. She, along with her colleagues, discovered a crucial neurophysiological role for serotonin and serotonin receptors in autonomic regulation, the dysfunction of which may be an underlying factor giving rise to SIDS.
Dr. Corcoran’s current work investigates the role of Cannabidiol (CBD) on breathing and autonomic responses in humans, and how these might be altered by varying levels of exercise. This project provides excellent opportunities for undergraduate student involvement. She currently has been awarded a project grant from Vermont’s Biomedical Research Network. Dr. Corcoran is also interested in body composition and welcomes undergraduate research project ideas using her research lab’s Bod Pod.
Ph.D., University of Alaska Fairbanks
M.S., University of British Columbia
B.S., University of British Columbia