Arizona Physiological Society

2019 Arizona Physiological Society Executive Officers

President of the Arizona Physiological Society  Jon Harrison, PhD

President of the Arizona Physiological Society

Jon Harrison, PhD

President: Jon Harrison, PhD

Professor, School of Life Sciences, Arizona State University

Jon Harrison is a physiologist who studies insects at Arizona State University. His research is broadly focused on metabolism and oxygen transport. Current projects include studying how Drosophila survive many hours of anoxia, oxygen-sensing and the control of development in Drosophila, the biophysics of fluid and oxygen transport in insects, scaling of oxygen delivery systems, scaling of flight energetics, scaling of metabolism in ant colonies, links between nutrition, metabolism and migratory behavior in locusts, the thermal ecology of Aedes mosquitos, and testing whether carboximide and strobilurine fungicides play a significant role in declining pollinator populations.

AZPS functions as an important opportunity to build professional collaborations among Arizona physiologists, and to provide training opportunities for our mentees.  Iā€™m excited to continue the work of our past leadership by organizing a strong meeting and further developing communication tools for Arizona physiologists. One specific goal will be to recruit more ASU physiologists to our meeting; a second will be to work to improve the quality of feedback on mentee presentations, a third will be to develop a resource of contacts and available techniques for facilitating collaborations across our labs.

Immediate Past President: Karen Sweazea, PhD

Associate Professor, School of Nutrition and Health Promotion and School of Life Sciences, Arizona State 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.

Secretary/Treasurer of the Arizona Physiological Society  John VandenBrooks, PhD

Secretary/Treasurer of the Arizona Physiological Society

John VandenBrooks, PhD

Secretary/Treasurer: John VandenBrooks, PhD

Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology, Midwestern University

I am an assistant professor in the Department of Physiology at Midwestern University.  My main research focus has been on examining how variation in atmospheric oxygen over time influences the physiology, development and evolution of animals.  This research combines physiological studies on extant animals with paleophysiological studies examining the fossil record.  More recently, I have started a collaborative project looking at the interactive effects of oxygen and temperature on ectotherm physiology, specifically testing hypotheses of what determines critical thermal limits in various ecophysiological settings.  Lastly, I am leading a collaborative team in studying the role of the brown dog tick as a vector for Rocky Mountain Spotted fever in dogs and humans in Arizona.  I teach a variety of physiology courses with the majority of my teaching being in the College of Veterinary Medicine.  I look forward to the potential opportunity to work with the Arizona Physiological Society and to help it to expand and grow in the next few years.

Postdoctoral Councillor of the Arizona Physiological Society

Alexandra Garvin, PhD

Postdoctoral Councillor: Alexandra Garvin, PhD

Postdoctoral Researcher, University of Arizona - College of Medicine, Phoenix


As a newcomer to Arizona, I recently started as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Arizona-College of Medicine, Phoenix. I graduated with a BS in Biology from Clemson University in 2009 and with my PhD in Physiology from The Pennsylvania State University in 2016. My doctoral studies focused on mitochondrial-mediated mechanisms of cell death following ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury in the aged female rat heart. Presently, my research at UA is focused on hypertension-related cardiac remodeling with an emphasis on the role of fibroblast phenotype and behavior. I am excited about these research endeavors and the associated training for my continued research interests in cardiovascular physiology.

As a graduate student, I was involved in the inaugural Graduate Student Advisory Committee for my program. The main objective of this committee is to act as a liaison between your program and others within the Life Sciences and to organize events that highlight variable career paths and wellness. While serving on this committee, I realized the importance of providing such resources and support for trainees. As such, a goal of mine as the postdoctoral representative for AzPS will be to organize platforms and facilitate discussion for those seeking advice and support for work/life balance and wellness in the face of a research career.

Graduate Student Councillor of the Arizona Physiological Society  Meli'sa Crawford

Graduate Student Councillor of the Arizona Physiological Society

Meli'sa Crawford

Graduate Student Councillor: Meli'sa Crawford

PhD candidate, School of Life Sciences: Biology, Arizona State University


I am a PhD Candidate in Biology at Arizona State University under the supervision of Dr. Karen Sweazea. My work focuses on the effects of a soil derived compound on metabolic risk factors (obesity, hyperglycemia, dyslipidemia and endothelial dysfunction) and gastrointestinal physiology in rats fed a high fat diet (HFD) for 10 weeks. In addition to my graduate studies, I am a proud member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Incorporated, a travel Grant Reviewer for the Graduate Professional Student Association, a volunteer for the science mentoring program Graduate Partners in Science Education and Ask a Biologist.

Following the completion of my PhD, I want to continue to examine how intestinal motility is altered in rats with metabolic syndrome as a tenure-track professor.

A primary focus of the Arizona Physiological Society (AZPS) is to provide resources for students and young investigators in the discipline of physiology. Graduate school can be daunting and very stressful. As a graduate councilor for AZPS, I aim to increase graduate and undergraduate student participation and make the experience of attending a meeting and presenting research enjoyable for students.

Ex-Officio Members

Elected officers for 2020

Elections will be held at a future date and ballots sent to current, active members.


Arizona Physiological Society Membership and Business Coordinators

Membership Coordinator of the Arizona Physiological Society  Linda Baughn

Membership Coordinator of the Arizona Physiological Society

Linda Baughn

Linda Baughn

Senior Office Specialist, Department of Physiology, University of Arizona