Yao laboratory: Cardiovascular Neuroscience

Research Overview

View Dr Yao's latest publications listing here.

Our laboratory is focused on understanding how genetic, neurochemical and structural changes that occur in the brain in hypertension and following myocardial infarction (or heart failure), contributes to an overactive sympathetic nervous system and consequently disease progression. Current research projects include identifying and understanding how neuroinflammation (and the function of specific cytokines) might contribute to the development of hypertension. We are also interested in how changes in brain signalling might lead to worsening of disease outcomes following myocardial infarction and heart failure.

Current projects include:

1. Blood-brain barrier dysfunction in heart failure: we are trying to understand how a compromised blood-brain barrier might cause neural changes that lead to worse outcomes in heart failure.

2. Neuroinflammation in hypertension: we are trying to determine how brain inflammation might drive increases in sympathetic nerve activity in hypertension and heart failure with a specific focus on key cytokines and inflammatory factors.

3. Optogenetic stimulation of the vagus nerve as a treatment for heart failure.

4. Brainstem neurogenesis: we are trying to understand the role of nascent neurons in the brainstem and how these might be important of controlling cardiovascular reflexes and function.

5. Orexin and hypoglycaemia associated autonomic failure.


Dr Song Yao, Head of Laboratory

Dr Willian Korim, Research Fellow

Jasmine Sloan, PhD student


Professor Alexander Gourine, University College London

Professor Vagner Antunes, University of Sao Paulo

Professor Simon Malpas, University of Auckland

Dr Sarah-Jane Guild, University of Auckland

Dr Daniel McCormick, University of Auckland

Professor Clive May, Florey Institute

Professor Robin McAllen, Florey Institute

Professor Michael McKinley, Florey Institute

Dr Lindsea Booth, Florey Institute

Dr Stuart McDougall, Florey Institute

Dr Yugeesh Lankadeva, Florey Institute

A/Prof Akhter Hossain, Florey Institute


2017-2021 ARC Future Fellowship: Understanding brain mechanisms that control autonomic function. S Yao. Awarded $750,480

2020-2022 NHMRC Ideas Grant: A new target for heart failure treatment: the blood-brain barrier. Awarded $510,000

2017-2022 NHMRC Project Grant: The brain as a therapeutic target for heart failure. Awarded $922,000

Research Opportunities

This research project is available to PhD students, Masters by Research, Honours students, Master of Biomedical Science to join as part of their thesis.
Please contact the Research Group Leader to discuss your options.

Research Projects

This Research Group doesn't currently have any projects

Faculty Research Themes


School Research Themes

Cardio-Respiratory, Biomedical Neuroscience

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact Head of Laboratory Dr Song Yao

Department / Centre

Anatomy and Physiology

Unit / Centre

Yao laboratory: Cardiovascular Neuroscience

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