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Matthew R. Hodges , Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Phone: (414) 955-7528
E-mail: mhodges@mcw.edu

B.A. Biology, Carleton College, 1998

Ph.D. Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, 2004

Parker B. Francis Fellow, Yale University School of Medicine, 2006-2009

Research areas:

Respiratory Physiology




Genetics and Genomics



Every cell in the body requires a continuous supply of oxygen and constant removal of carbon dioxide, and as a result we breathe continuously from birth to death to ensure adequate gas exchange. A decrease in the blood oxygen levels or an increase in carbon dioxide (which decreases pH) both act to increase ventilation in classic feedback fashion. However, it remains unknown which neurons within the brainstem serve as detectors of brain carbon dioxide levels and/or pH, and how these neurons send this information to the neuronal network that generate respiratory rhythm and muscle activation patterns.


Our goal in the Hodges laboratory is to use a variety of techniques, from genetic manipulation to recordings from single neurons in vitro, and studying intact animals to determine which neurons serve as chemoreceptors for breathing, how they detect changes in carbon dioxide and/or pH, and how a change in their activity translates to a change in ventilation. The techniques we use in our laboratory include patch-clamp recording (from primary cell culture and acute brainstem slices), en bloc whole nerve recordings from isolated brainstem preparations, flow-through plethysmography (to measure ventilation rats and mice), in vivo microdialysis (to generate focal brain acidosis and measure levels of neurotransmitters), and peripheral chemoreceptor (carotid body) denervation.

  • M.M. Puissant, A.E. Echert, C. Yang, G.C. Mouradian Jr., T. Novotny, P. Liu, M. Liang, M.R. Hodges. RNASeq-derived transcriptome comparisons reveal neuromodulatory deficiency in the CO2-insensitive Brown Norway rat. J. Physiol. (In Press), 2014. PMID: 25384776.


  • L. Li, Y. Lu, E. Chen, C. Yang, P. Jayaraman, J. De Pons, C.C. Kaczorowski, H.J. Jacob, A.G. Greene, M.R. Hodges, A.W. Cowley, Jr., M. Liang, H. Xu, P. Liu. Improved rat genome gene prediction by integration of ESTs with RNA-Seq information. Bioinformatics (In Press), 2014. PMID:25217576.


  • C. Muere, S. Neumueller, J. Miller, S. Olesiak, M.R. Hodges, L. Pan, and H.V. Forster. Evidence for neuromodulator interdependence in the control of breathing after cholinergic disruption in the ventral respiratory column during wakefulness and NREM sleep. Respir. Physiol. Neurobiol. (In Press), 2014. PMID:25262584.


  • P.F. Martino, S. Olesiak, D. Batuuka, D. Riley, S. Neumueller, H.V. Forster, M.R. Hodges. Strain differences in pH-sensitive K+ channel-expressing cells in chemosensory and non-chemosensory brainstem nuclei. J. Appl. Physiol. 117(8):848-56, 2014. PMID:25150225.


  • J.R. Miller, S.E. Neumueller, C. Muere, S.J. Olesiak, L.G. Pan, J.D. Bukowy, A.O. Daghistany, M.R. Hodges, H.V. Forster. Changes in glutamate receptor subunits within the medulla in goats after section of the carotid sinus nerves. J. Appl. Physiol., 116(12): 1531-42, 2014. PMID: 24790015.


  • H.V. Forster, J. Bonis, K. Krause, J. Wenninger, S. Neumueller, M. Hodges, L. Pan. Contributions of the pre-Botzinger complex and the Kölliker-fuse nuclei to respiratory rhythm and pattern generation in awake and sleeping goats. Prog. Brain Res. 209: 73-89, 2014. PMID: 24746044.


  • A.J. Kriegel, Y. Liu, P. Liu, M.A. Baker, M.R. Hodges, X Hua, M. Liang. Characteristics of MicroRNAs enriched in specific cell types and primary tissue types in solid organs. Physiol. Genomics 45(23): 1144-56, 2013. PMID: 24085797.


  • J.R. Miller, S.E. Neumueller, C. Muere, S.J. Olesiak, L.G. Pan, M.R. Hodges, H.V. Forster. Changes in neurochemicals within the ventrolateral medullary respiratory column in awake goats after carotid body denervation. J. Appl. Physiol. 115(7):1088-98, 2013. PMID: 23869058.


  • J.M. Bonis, S.E. Neumueller, K.L. Krause, L.G. Pan, M.R. Hodges, H.V. Forster. Contributions of the Kölliker-Fuse nucleus to coordination of breathing and swallowing. Respir. Physiol. Neurobiol. 189(1):10-21, 2013. PMID: 23774145.


  • M.R. Hodges, A.E. Echert, M.M. Puissant, and G.C. Mouradian. Fluoxetine augments ventilatory CO2 sensitivity in Brown Norway but not Sprague Dawley rats. Respir. Physiol. Neurobiol. 186(2):221-228, 2013. PMID: 23454023.


  • K. Katter, A.M. Geurts, O. Hoffmann, L. Mates, V. Landa, L. Hiripi, C. Moreno, J. Lazar, S. Bashir, V. Zidek, E. Popova, B. Jerchow, K. Becker, A. Devaraj, I. Walter, M. Grzybowski, M. Corebett, A.R. Filho, M.R. Hodges, M. Bader, Z. Ivics, H.J. Jacob, M. Pravenec, Z. Bosze, T. Rulicke, Z. Izsvak. Transposon-mediated transgenesis, transgenic rescue, and tissue-specific gene expression in rodents and rabbit. FASEB J. 27(3):930-941, 2013. PMID: 23195032.


Active Grants:

Pathway to Independence Award (NIH R00 HL097033-03) 09-01-09 – 01-31-15


PI: M.R. Hodges

Title: “Roles of peripheral and central respiratory chemoreceptors in inbred rat strains”


R01 HL112996-01, Forster (PI), 08/01/13 to 04/30/2017 ($250,000 direct costs/year)


Co-I: M.R. Hodges (PI: Forster)

Title: “Interdependence among neuromodulators of ventilatory control”


Children’s Research Institute Pilot Innovative Research (PIR) Award (09/01/2013 to 02/28/2015)

PI: M.R. Hodges

Title: “Rat knockout Models of SIDS”


Neuroscience Research Center Collaborative Pilot Grant (Advancing a Healthier Wisconsin) (01/01/15-12/31/16)

Co-PI: M.R. Hodges (Co-PI: O. Palygin)

Title: “Regulation of serotonin-mediated synaptic plasticity by Kir4.15.1 channels” ($50,000 total)



Completed Grants:

VA Merit Review 2885-02P, H.V. Forster (PI), 04/01/10- 03-31-14

Veteran’s Affairs Administration

Co-I: M.R. Hodges (PI: Forster)

Title: “Carotid afferent and parafacial neuronal excitatory effects on breathing”


Cutting-edge Basic Research Award (NIDA R21 DA031561-01), 7/1/11-6/30/13


Co-PI: M.R. Hodges (Co-PI: A. Geurts)

Title: “CRE rats for psychiatric disorders”


Parker B. Francis Postdoctoral Award in Pulmonary Research (07/01/2006 – 07/01/2009)

PI: M.R. Hodges

Title: “Development of CO2 Sensitivity among Different Populations of Medullary Serotonergic Neurons.”



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