Curt D. Sigmund, PhD


Curt D. Sigmund, PhD
James J. Smith & Catherine Welsch Smith Professor of Physiology
Chair of Physiology
Associate Director, Cardiovascular Center


Dr. Curt Sigmund is the James J. Smith & Catherine Welsch Smith Chair of Physiology at the Medical College of Wisconsin. Dr. Sigmund previously served as Professor and Roy J. Carver Chair in Hypertension Research; Director, Chair and Department Executive Officer, Department of Pharmacology; UIHC Center for Hypertension Research at the Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine at the University of Iowa. He has published over 250 papers, chapters and reviews and has trained over 50 PhD students and postdoctoral fellows many of whom hold research and faculty positions nationally and internationally. He has held numerous leadership roles in prominent societies. He recently was elected to serve a two-year term as the new Chair-Elect of the American Heart Association Council on Hypertension and is currently the Chair of the Publications Committee of the American Physiological Society (APS). He was previously Associate Editor and Editor-in-Chief for several APS journals. He served on the External Scientific Review Board of the MCW Cardiovascular Center from 2016-2017 and now serves as its Associate Director.

Research Interest

Dr. Sigmund’s major areas of research focus on central nervous system and vascular mechanisms of blood pressure regulation by the renin-angiotensin system, the transcription factor PPAR-gamma, and its downstream effectors Cullin-3/RhoBTB1, investigating these using a combination of molecular biological, genetic and physiological approaches including the generation of unique transgenic and knockout models. Dr. Sigmund’s laboratory is located within the Cardiovascular Center in the Health Research Center and Medical Education buildings.

Ko-Ting Wu

Jing Wu, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

My research is mainly in vascular biology, arterial stiffness, inflammation, and hypertension. My research projects currently include the role of smooth muscle PPAR-gamma in renovascular function and salt sensitive hypertension and the role of Cullin-3 in endothelial function and blood pressure regulation.


Javier Alejandro Gomez Vargas

Javier Alejandro Gomez Vargas, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

My PhD is in Molecular and Cellular Biology. Currently working on understanding the mechanistic links between activation of the brain Renin-Angiotensin System and Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress, specifically how renin is regulated in the brain.


Pablo Nakawaga

Pablo Nakagawa, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

I am Pablo Nakagawa, a postdoctoral fellow in Dr. Sigmund’s Lab. Currently, the focus of my research is to understand the role of the brain renin angiotensin system (RAS) in the regulation of the cardiovascular and autonomic system. Specifically, my main hypothesis is that local de novo synthesis of angiotensin peptides in the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) is required for the full development of hypertension. Thus, utilizing stereotactic delivery of viruses targeting the RVLM in transgenic mice carrying floxed alleles of RAS genes, we will elucidate whether the activation of the RAS in the RVLM contributes to the development of neurogenic hypertension.


Sebastiao Donato Silva Jr. 

Sebastiao Donato Silva Junior, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow

PPARy is a nuclear receptor transcription factor involved in the regulation of metabolism and vascular function through regulation of target genes. Retinol binding protein 7 (RBP7) is an endothelium specific PPARy target gene. Interference with PPAR and/or RBP7 causes endothelial dysfunction and oxidative stress in the presence of stressor agent (Angiotensin II, High Fat Diet). My current research is focused on understanding the role of RBP7 in mitochondrial uncoupling and oxidative stress in response to a cardiovascular stressor.

Jing Lu

Ko-Ting Lu
Research Associate I
(414) 955-4966

As a laboratory manager of the Sigmund lab, I ensure the day to day operation, including safety compliance, equipment maintenance and quality control, training and supporting laboratory staff. I am also experienced in performing various molecular and physiological experiments in understanding the underlying mechanism of cardiovascular disease.


Kelsey Wackman

Kelsey Wackman
Research Technologist II

I am responsible for managing the animal portion of the Sigmund Laboratory. I am in charge of breeding our many strains of mice, and also assist the students in any area needed when it comes to the mouse colony.


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Shi Fang
Graduate Student

My education background is Pharmaceutical and Pharmacology. My research project is focused on the cardiovascular protective effect of RhoBTB1. Using multiple transgenic mice, I am investigating physiological and molecular function of vascular RhoBTB1 in different hypertension models.