MCS Featured Lab - May 2020

Tom Longden, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor
Department of Physiology
School of Medicine | University of Maryland
Dr Tom Longden

Research Description:

My lab seeks to understand the physiology of blood flow control in the brain, and how this gets disrupted in various disease states. We focus in particular on the mechanisms of neurovascular coupling, which allow neurons to communicate with blood vessels to evoke an increase in blood flow to obtain more energy substrates to support increases in activity. This process, known as functional hyperemia, is critical to neuronal health and ensures that the metabolic demands of the neurons are consistently satisfied. Intriguingly, loss of blood flow control is one of the earliest pathological events in Alzheimer’s disease, and one of the strongest predictors of later cognitive decline. Thus, we have become interested in understanding how blood flow disturbances emerge in this context.

We use a range of techniques, from single cell electrophysiology to in vivo imaging to answer our questions. Our investigations typically center around ion channels and G protein-coupled receptors in a range of vascular cells and how these are organized into signaling units that modulate blood flow.

Lab Website:


Top lesson you have learned in your career:

Preparation is everything! Invest your time in doing the best prep you possibly can and biology will reward you with good data (most of the time).

Recent Publications:

  • Longden TA*, Dabertrand F*, Koide M, Gonzales AL, Tykocki NR, Brayden JE, Hill-Eubanks DC, Nelson MT. Capillary K+-sensing initiates retrograde hyperpolarization to increase local cerebral blood flow. Nat Neurosci. 2017 May; 20(5): 717-26. *co-first authors (PMID: 28319610)
  • Longden TA, Nelson MT. Vascular Inward Rectifier K+ Channels as External K+ Sensors in the Control of Cerebral Blood Flow. Microcirculation. 2015 Jan 31; 22(20): 183-196. (PMID: 25641345)
  • Garcia DG, Longden TA. Ion channels in capillary endothelium. Current Topics in Membranes. 2020 (in press).