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Dr. Aaron Bunker

Last updated September 12, 2016

   

RESEARCH

Dr. Aaron Bunker

My doctoral research examined vascular maladaptations to physical inactivity and chronic disease (type 2
diabetes and familial hypercholesterolemia). In this regard, I used whole organ tissue chambers to examine
how physical inactivity and exercise affected vascular function (i.e.- the ability of blood vessels to constrict
and dilate) in different animals of chronic disease (a rat type 2 diabetes model and a pig familial
hypercholesterolemia model). Molecular/biochemical analyses were also conducted on the vasculature to
elucidate important vascular signaling pathways potentially affected by physical inactivity and exercise.

My current research interests still reside in how examining how the mammalian cardiovascular system (and
whole body) functions. However, I have switched to using humans exclusively as a research model and
now examine how physical inactivity and exercise affect their ability to regulate blood pressure. An
important physiological reflex in the human cardiovascular system is the baroreflex, which allows for
minute-to-minute maintenance of arterial blood pressure. Physical inactivity and different exercise
modalities are thought to greatly impact how this reflex operates. Right now I am finishing up a two-year
study examining whether blood pressure measurements are dependent on the arm used to take the
measurement and/or the body position one is in when obtaining these measurements.

My research areas are not limited to my own interests; they are also driven largely by student’s own
interests. I’ve recently had students publish an article examining whether there are sex specific effects of
ergogenic aids on skeletal muscle performance when taken acutely. See the article in the publications list
below. This research went to several local, regional, and national meetings before being published.

In the past I also have had students examining whether the dive response differs between swimmers and
non-swimmer athletes on campus. And yet another study that examined whether there are sex specific
effects of texting on visual and auditory reaction times with varying distractions. Again, these are all
student projects!! How COOL~!

Lastly I’ve began collaborating with Psychology and Computer Science faculty to examine the
physiological effects of chronic and/or video game play on aggressive and violent behavior.

Relevant Publications:

Bunker, AK, and Laughlin, MH. Influence of exercise and perivascular adipose tissue on coronary artery
vasomotor function in a familial hypercholesterolemic porcine atherosclerosis model. J Appl Physiol.
2010
Mar;108(3):490-7. Epub 2009 Dec 3. Editorial Comment in : J Appl Physiol. 2010 Mar;108(3):475-6.

Aaron K Bunker, Arturo A Arce-Esquivel, R. Scott Rector, Frank W. Booth, Jamal A. Ibdah, and M.
Harold Laughlin.
Physical activity maintains aortic endothelium dependent relaxation in the obese, type 2
diabetic OLETF rat.
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2010 Jun;298(6):H1889-901. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Anderson, Justin, Brice Buryanek, and Aaron Bunker. Differential Effects Between the Sexes of
Ergogenic Aids on Skeletal Muscle Performance.
Journal for Young Investigators 2012 Dec:24(6):67-72.

Arturo A. Arce-Esquivel, Aaron K. Bunker, Grant Simmons, H.T. Yang, M. Harold Laughlin, and Ronald
L.Terjung.
Impaired coronary endothelial vasorelaxation in a preclinical model of peripheral arterial
insufficiency. Journal of Heart and Cardiology
2015: 1(2): 1-09.

Haedt, Nicholas, Kaitlin Gerber, Blake Schany, and Aaron Bunker. Effects of body position and arm
used when taking blood pressure recordings in young healthy males and females.
BIOS, a Quarterly Journal
of Biology, July 2015: 86(2).