Cerebrovascular Laboratory

The Cerebrovascular Laboratory focuses on brain plasticity in response to aging and lifestyle modifications, with the ultimate goal to improve brain health and quality-of-life in older adults. The ongoing projects investigate if and to what extent reducing cardiovascular risk factors and exercise impact brain structure, function, and perfusion in middle-aged and older adults. We use integrative systems physiology and state-of-the-art neuroimaging approaches to answer these key questions. The motto of our team is "Strive for Excellence."


Our research interests include: 1) to understand the interrelationship between cardiovascular and brain health, 2) to examine the effects of aging and lifestyle modifications on brain structure, function, and perfusion in middle-aged and older adults, 3) to study dynamic cerebral autoregulation and its applications under cerebrovascular and other disease conditions. Transcranial Doppler, echocardiography, near infrared spectroscopy, MRI, and PET technologies are used to seek the answers to these research questions.

Current Projects

  • Exercise and Intensive Vascular Risk Reduction in Preventing Dementia (funded by the National Institute on Aging, http://www.rradtrial.org/)
  • Clinical and Neuroplastic Effects of Aerobic Exercise in Traumatic Brain Injury (funded by the Texas Institute for Brain Injury and Repair)
  • Midlife Brain Plasticity – Exercise and Vascular Function (funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute)
  • Neurovascular Decoupling and Memory Impairment after Traumatic Brain Injury (funded by the Darrell K Royal Research Fund)
  • Exercise Reduces Brain Inflammation and Improves Quality of Life in Patients with early Alzheimer’s disease (funded by the Big D Powderpuff Tackling Alzheimer’s, Inc.)

Highlighted Publications

  1. Xing CY, Tarumi T, Liu J, Zhang Y, Turner M, Riley J, Tinajero CD, Yuan LJ, Zhang R. Distribution of cardiac output to the brain across the adult lifespan. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 2016, In Press.​
  2. Liu J, Tseng BY, Khan MA, Tarumi T, Hill C, Mirshams N, Hodics TM, Hynan LS, Zhang R. Individual Variability of Cerebral Autoregulation, Posterior Cerebral Circulation and White Matter Hyperintensity. The Journal of Physiology. 594(11): 3141-55, 2016.​
  3. Tarumi T, Harris T, Hill C, German Z, Riley J, Turner M, Womack KB, Kerwin DR, Monson NL, Stowe AM, Mathews D, Cullum CM, Zhang R. Amyloid Burden and Sleep Blood Pressure in Amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment. Neurology. 85(22): 1922-29, 2015.
  4. Zhu DC, Tarumi T, Khan MA, Zhang R. Vascular Coupling in Resting-State fMRI: Evidences from Multiple Modalities. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 35(12): 1910-20, 2015.
  5. Tarumi T, Khan MA, Liu J, Tseng BM, Parker R, Riley J, Tinajero C, Zhang R. Cerebral Hemodynamics in Normal Aging: Central Artery Stiffness, Wave Reflection, and Pressure Pulsatility. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 34(6): 971-978, 2014.
  6. Liu J, Zhu YS, Khan MA, Brunk E, Martin-Cook K, Weiner MF, Cullum CM, Lu H, Levine BD, Diaz-Arrastia R, Zhang R. Global brain hypoperfusion and oxygenation in amnestic mild cognitive impairment. Alzheimer's & dementia. 10(2):162-70, 2014.​
  7. Tseng BY, Gundapuneedi T, Khan MA, Diaz-Arrastia R, Levine BD, Lu H, Huang H, Zhang R. White matter integrity in physically fit older adults. NeuroImage. 82: 510-516, 2013.​
  8. Zhu YS, Tarumi T, Tseng BY, Palmer DM, Levine BD, Zhang R. Cerebral vasomotor reactivity during hypo- and hypercapnia in sedentary elderly and Masters athletes. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism. 33(8): 1190-1196, 2013.​
  9. Zhang R, Witkowski S, Fu Q, Claassen J, Levine BD. Cerebral hemodynamics after short and long-term reduction in blood pressure in mild and moderate hypertension. Hypertension 49(5):1149-55, 2007.
  10. Zhang R, Zuckerman JH, Iwasaki K, Wilson T, Crandall CG, Levine BD. Autonomic neural control of dynamic cerebral autoregulation in humans. Circulation, 106:1814-1820, 2002.