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Kirthikaa Balapattabi, PhD

Kirthikaa Balapattabi, PhD

Kirthikaa Balapattabi, PhD

Postdoctoral Fellow

Contact Information


PhD, Neurophysiology, University of North Texas Health Science Center
ME, Biotechnology, Anna University, India


I completed engineering in Biotechnology with gold medal for outstanding academic performance. My PhD work in the lab of Dr. J. Thomas Cunningham addressed the mechanisms controlling the synaptic regulation of arginine vasopressin (AVP) neurons located in the Supraoptic Nucleus of hypothalamus, during salt loading and liver failure, along with understanding sex differences in AVP neuron activation. I graduated in 2019 with a perfect GPA and received both a Dean’s award and a prestigious Chancellor’s award for Scholarly Excellence in Research; these are the highest possible honors for outgoing graduate students.

My current postdoctoral work focuses on neural control of metabolic syndrome and has strong clinical significance. During prolonged obesity, the adverse cardiovascular responses to leptin are preserved, but beneficial metabolic effects, such as increases in resting metabolic rate are lost, contributing to obesity-associated hypertension. I am studying mechanisms in a unique subset of Agouti-related peptide (AgRP) neurons that express AT1A receptor that are known to regulate metabolic rate. This work will help identify targets for next gen treatments of obesity without causing hypertension.

Honors and Awards

I recently received 2021 NIH Outstanding Scholar in Neuroscience award and proud to be the first MCW postdoctoral fellow to receive this award. I am currently serving as trainee representative in American Physiological Society awards committee and in Trainee Advocacy Committee of the Council on Hypertension.