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David Mendelowitz David Mendelowitz
Vice Chair of Pharm & Phys
Interim Chair, Department of Pharmacology & Physiology
Professor of Pharmacology and Physiology
Professor of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine (Secondary)

Office Phone: 202-994-3466
Email: Email
Department: Pharmacology and Physiology


  • BSE, Pennsylvania, Univ of, 1981
  • PhD, University of Washington, 1989


Lectures in:
PHYL 6201
PHYL 6211
PHAR 6201
PHAR 6207
BMSC 8211
BMSC 8218


My research career is focused on the autonomic and respiratory control of brainstem cardiovascular function in both normal physiological homeostasis as well as alterations that occur to initiate and/or sustain cardiorespiratory diseases. In particular my lab studies the cellular properties and neuronal network and reflex control of pre-motor parasympathetic cardio-inhibitory vagal neurons located in the nucleus ambiguus in the brainstem. The activity of these cardiac vagal neurons dominates the neural control of heart rate, yet despite their clinical importance we have only begun to fully understand the transmitters and integration of complex synaptic pathways from other brain sites that control these critical specialized neurons and the parasympathetic control of heart rate in both healthy and disease states including Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA).

For more information, please visit the Mendelowitz Lab website

Centers and Institutes

GW Institute for Biomedical Sciences



View publications by this faculty member.

Synaptic and intrinsic activation of GABAergic neurons in the cardiorespiratory brainstem network. Frank, JG, Mendelowitz, D. PLoS ONE, in press, 2012.

? adrenergic receptor modulation of neurotransmission to cardiac vagal neurons in the nucleus ambiguus. Bateman RJ, Boychuk CR, Philbin KE, Mendelowitz D. Neuroscience. 2012 Feb 24. [Epub ahead of print] PMID:22425752

Orexinergic modulation of GABAergic neurotransmission to cardiac vagal neurons in the brain stem nucleus ambiguus changes during development. Dergacheva O, Bateman R, Byrne P, Mendelowitz D. Neuroscience. 2012 May 3;209:12-20. Epub 2012 Feb 21. PMID:22390944

5HT1A receptors inhibit glutamate inputs to cardiac vagal neurons post-hypoxia/hypercapnia. Dergacheva O, Kamendi HW, Wang X, Mendelowitz D. Respir Physiol Neurobiol. 2011 Dec 15;179(2-3):254-8. PMID:21930251

?1-adrenergic receptors facilitate inhibitory neurotransmission to cardiac vagal neurons in the nucleus ambiguus. Boychuk CR, Bateman RJ, Philbin KE, Mendelowitz D. Neuroscience. 2011 Oct 13;193:154-61. PMID:21771639

Hypocretin-1 (orexin A) prevents the effects of hypoxia/hypercapnia and enhances the GABAergic pathway from the lateral paragigantocellular nucleus to cardiac vagal neurons in the nucleus ambiguus.Dergacheva O, Philbin K, Bateman R, Mendelowitz D. Neuroscience. 2011 Feb 23;175:18-23. PMID:21134420

GLP-1 receptor stimulation depresses heart rate variability and inhibits neurotransmission to cardiac vagal neurons. Griffioen KJ, Wan R, Okun E, Wang X, Lovett-Barr MR, Li Y, Mughal MR, Mendelowitz D, Mattson MP. Cardiovasc Res. 2011 Jan 1;89(1):72-8.

Industry Relationships and Collaborations

This faculty member (or a member of their immediate family) has reported a financial interest with the health care related companies listed below. These relations have been reported to the University and, when appropriate, management plans are in place to address potential conflicts.

  • None