Associate professor - Physiology and pharmacology
Associate professor - Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences
Associate professor - Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine
Currently research in our laboratory is focused on investigating the interrelationship between autonomic nervous system activity, hedonic/affective states and cardiovascular function. The underlying hypothesis that drives our research is that the critical “mind-body” link between psychological affect and cardiovascular health is the autonomic nervous system, and any disruption in autonomic balance can lead to both altered states of mood or affect and cardiovascular function. We call this relationship the neurocardiac axis. During my postdoctoral training, we found that the well-established bidirectional relationship between cardiovascular disease and psychological depression involves disruption of autonomic balance, specifically a shift toward sympathetic dominance and less reliance on parasympathetic activity. My continuing studies are focused on disruption of autonomic balance and the concomitant mechanisms that produce alterations in the central nervous system and cardiovascular function.
Investigation of neural control and autonomic regulation of cardiovascular function. Ongoing projects include studying the effects of vagus nerve stimulation on control of cardiovascular function and behavior in addition to investigating the effects of chronic exercise training and deconditioning on central nervous system control of cardiovascular function and hedonic behaviors.
J.A. Moffitt, A.J. Grippo, T.G. Beltz and A.K. Johnson: Hindlimb unloading elicits anhedonia and sympathovagal imbalance. J. Appl. Physiol. 105(4): 1049-59, 2008
United States Patent # 7,260,431: Combined remodeling control therapy and anti-remodeling therapy by implantable cardiac device. Libbus, I, KenKnight, BH, Moffitt, JA, and Manicka, YD., August 21. Asignee: Cardiac Pacemakers, Inc., 2007
J.A. Moffitt and A.K. Johnson: Short-term fluoxetine treatment enhances baroreflex control of sympathetic nervous system activity. Am. J. Physiol: Heart Circ. Physiol. 286(3): R584-590, 2004
Awards and honors
2007 - Young Investigator Award, Iowa and Nebraska Physiological Society
2004 - Patent Application of the Year Award, Guidant Corporation
2003 - Finalist - John O. Chellevold Student Award for Teaching Excellence and Professional Service, Wartburg College