Crystal Ripplinger, Ph.D.
Professor and Vice Chair for Research & Administration
Department of Pharmacology
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for the cardiac fight-or-flight response, but may also contribute to cardiac arrhythmias, especially in the setting of cardiovascular disease. Over the years, our group has studied how the sympathetic nervous system remodels with disease, and how the heart responds to changes in nerve activity. To better understand cardiac responses to autonomic inputs, we have recently developed a novel multi-parametric optical imaging approach in the intact heart that allows for simultaneous assessment of adrenergic activity and resulting electrophysiological responses. Importantly, this new approach has revealed previously unrecognized sex differences in autonomic signaling in the heart, which may play a role in sex-dependent arrhythmia risk.
Dr. Crystal Ripplinger is Professor and Vice Chair for Research & Administration in the Department of Pharmacology at UC Davis. She received her BS degree in Electrical Engineering from North Dakota State University in Fargo, ND, and earned her MS and PhD degrees in Biomedical Engineering from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. Dr. Ripplinger joined the faculty at UC Davis in 2010. Her research focusses on the role of the nervous system in influencing heart rhythm and cardiac arrhythmias. Dr. Ripplinger’s laboratory develops and implements state-of-the-art optical imaging and neuro-modulatory approaches in animal models of cardiovascular disease to assess the impact of neural inputs and autonomic responses of the heart. Dr. Ripplinger is passionate about the advancement of women in STEM and her recent work focusses on the inclusion of sex and gender in cardiovascular research.