2017 Arizona Physiological Society Executive Officers
President: Kiisa Nishikawa, PhD
Regent's Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, Northern Arizona University
As an enthusiastic participant in the Arizona Chapter of the American Physiological Society since 2009, I am committed to its continued growth and vitality. Since its inception in 2008, the Chapter has promoted the discipline of physiology in Arizona through statewide meetings and member updates. Going forward, the first priority is to continue to recruit new participants with interests in physiology and physiological sciences across the state. In the long term, our Chapter should continue to recruit and develop junior scientists, establish new research collaborations, and share best practices in teaching to advance physiology throughout and beyond Arizona. Following on the effective leadership of Stan Lindstedt, Scott Boitano, and Layla Al-Nakkash, I plan to continue the Chapter’s mission to:
- improve connections among members via webpage, e-mail and informal gatherings
- expand membership statewide
- develop outreach programs to the community
- develop resources for physiology education
- organize successful annual Chapter meetings
- provide leadership with increasingly multi-syllabic, unpronounceable names
My research explores physiological adaptations that protect organisms against complications associated with hyperglycemia and increased adiposity. One of the main goals is to explore the evolution of naturally high blood sugar concentrations in birds in addition to the impact of urbanization and poor dietary choices on avian health. Learning how certain animals thrive under conditions that would result in pathologies for other species may help improve the treatment of diabetes. A second research focus is to characterize the mechanisms by which high caloric intake leads to cardiovascular disease and diabetes in mammalian and non-mammalian organisms. This latter research focus also includes the exploration of potential antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of functional foods with the goal of improving diet and reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease in human subjects. I currently teach a Pathophysiology course to graduate students in the Nutrition program.
Immediate Past President: Layla Al-Nakkash, PhD
Professor, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, Department of Physiology, Midwestern University
My research focuses on examining the effects of the naturally occurring isoflavone, genistein, on tissue function. I am interested in assessing the mechanism(s) by which genistein improves intestinal secretion, and whether this has implications for clinically relevant diseases with intestinal complications, such as cystic fibrosis and diabetes/obesity and identifying sex-dependent effects. I am also interested in understanding the protective role that genistein can play on the cardiovascular system, by acting as an estrogen mimic in models for menopause. I currently teach the Respiratory and GI Physiology blocks to students in the Colleges of Medicine, Dentistry, and Pharmacy.
Secretary-Treasurer: Tobias Riede, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, Midwestern University
Dr. Riede received his degrees from Humboldt-University of Berlin and from Free University Berlin, Germany. After 3 years of practicing as a veterinarian in Germany, he returned to academia. In 2014 he accepted a faculty position at Midwestern University and soon became a member of the Arizona chapter of the American Physiological Society. He studies the physiology of motor control of breathing and vocalization in vertebrate animals (mammals, alligators, birds). Current projects focus on physical mechanisms of voice production, the coordination between breathing, laryngeal movements and locomotion, and aspects of vocal development. These studies integrate neurobiology, biomechanics, morphology and behavior, and they provide a unique opportunity to bridge neural control of a complex behavior to its evolutionary and ecological relevance in the natural environment.
Postdoctoral Councillor: John Kanady, PhD
Postdoctoral Trainee, Department of Physiology, University of Arizona
Scientist, teacher, purveyor of geekiness. As a postdoctoral trainee, I work in Dr. Janis Burt’s lab at the University of Arizona studying how cells communicate with each other via proteins called connexins and what that communication means for cell function. Regarding formal education and degrees, I earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Physiology (2007) and my doctorate in Physiological Sciences (2015) from the University of Arizona. During my time as a graduate student, I got involved with the Arizona Physiological Society (AZPS) as a student attendee/presenter in 2009 and have been a member ever since.
Teaching and communicating science are topics near and dear to my heart. As an undergraduate, I was involved in physiology teaching as a preceptor for laboratory courses in Anatomy and Physiology. Once I started graduate school, I became a graduate teaching assistant and led students as the laboratory instructor for the courses that I had previously served as a preceptor. I sought other opportunities to teach undergraduates and have been fortunate to be an instructor for physiology courses at the University of Arizona (for physiology and non-physiology majors). I’ve also volunteered during physiology “Phun” events to help bring the magic of physiology to younger minds.
I’m excited for the opportunity to serve the AZPS on its executive committee. During my time as postdoctoral representative, my aim will be to increase the digital footprint of the society to help attract new members into the fold, increase the sense of community, and better serve the needs of its existing members.
Graduate Student Councillor: Carissa Miyano
Master's student, Center for Bioengineering Innovation, Northern Arizona University
I am a master's student at Northern Arizona University working under Dr. Kiisa Nishikawa and I gained my fascination for research working as an undergraduate student in the Nishikawa lab doing muscle workloops. My master's project is investigating thermoregulation issues faced by mice with a gene deletion in the muscle protein titin. I am a graduate student for the anatomy and physiology labs where I am able to communicate essential physiological principles to undergraduate students and strengthen their understanding of anatomy. As graduate student representative, my goal for AZPS is to increase attendance of the meeting and enhance the experience of those that attend. When I'm not teaching or in the lab, I can be found camping, hiking, or snowboarding around beautiful Arizona!
Arizona Physiological Society Membership and Business Coordinators
Senior Office Specialist, Department of Physiology, University of Arizona
Megan S. Coe
Business Manager, Center for Bioengineering Innovation, Northern Arizona University