Ian Wenker

Wenker, Ian C

Primary Appointment

Assistant Professor, Anesthesiology


  • BS, Biology, Xavier University
  • MS, Neuroscience, Wright State University
  • PhD, Neurobiology and Physiology, University of Connecticut

Contact Information

Old Medical School
West Complex
Charlottesville, Virginia 22903
Telephone: 4342439517

Research Disciplines

Neuroscience, Physiology

Research Interests

Neural control of cardiorespiratory function in health and disease

Research Description

I am an integrative neuroscientist, broadly trained in the neurophysiology of the brainstem, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous system. My research focuses on how neural circuitry, ion channels and membrane receptors, and cellular communication (both neuronal and glial) coordinate organismal homeostasis, with particular attention paid to the cardiovascular and breathing systems. These systems are crucial for human health, as their failure can lead to death, and their maladaptation results in hypertension, heart failure, sleep apnea, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS), and many other pathologies.
My research program’s current focus is to unravel the mechanisms of SUDEP. The causes of SUDEP are poorly understood. To better understand this phenomenon, I employ newly developed mouse models that reproduce the pathology experienced by epilepsy patients, including SUDEP. My laboratory uses techniques to chronically monitor seizures using video/EEG, perform various brain stimulation protocols, and have access to novel genetic approaches applicable to epilepsy research. Furthermore, we combine these approaches with respiratory monitoring, telemetric blood pressure recording, optogenetics, and chemogenetics to understand cardiorespiratory pathology in health and disease.

Selected Publications