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Morningside Campus
Aaron Bunker

Aaron Bunker

Associate Professor

Natural & Mathematical Sciences

James and Sharon Walker Science Center (SC) 148

Teaches general physiology, histology, and exercise physiology. Education: B.S., Missouri Western State College; Ph.D., University of Missouri

Research Interests

My doctoral research examined vascular maladaptations to physical inactivity and chronic disease (type 2 diabetes and familial hypercholesterolemia). In this regard, I used whole organ tissue chambers to examine how physical inactivity and exercise affected vascular function (i.e.- the ability of blood vessels to constrict and dilate) in different animals of chronic disease (a rat type 2 diabetes model and a pig familial hypercholesterolemia model). Molecular/biochemical analyses were also conducted on the vasculature to elucidate important vascular signaling pathways potentially affected by physical inactivity and exercise.

My current research interests still reside in how examining how the mammalian cardiovascular system (and whole body) functions. However, now I humans exclusively as a research model to examine how physical inactivity and exercise affect their ability to regulate blood pressure. An important physiological reflex in the human cardiovascular system is the baroreflex, which allows for minute-to-minute maintenance of arterial blood pressure. Physical inactivity and different exercise modalities are thought to greatly impact how this reflex operates. Most recently, 2 students collaborated with me to examine whether blood pressure differed in the left versus right arm while performing mild upper body exercise on a cycle ergometer.

My research areas are not limited to my own interests; they are also driven largely by student’s own interests. I’ve had students publish an article examining whether there are sex-specific effects of ergogenic aids on skeletal muscle performance when taken acutely. See the article in the publications list below. In the recent past I also worked with a student on a Summer Undergraduate Research Program examining whether diaphragm strength differed between athletes and vocalists/performing artists following a training protocol with an inspiratory muscle trainer. This research went to several local, regional, and national meetings.

Most recently I spent a sabbatical abroad studying Spanish in Guatemala to develop an optional Spanish mini-unit in my physiology courses. Many of the students in these courses want to go into allied health care careers and will very likely encounter a patient who speaks only Spanish. The Spanish mini-unit will allow the students to dabble their toes in the Spanish language and hopefully inspire them to take some of our Spanish for the Professions courses.

Publications (undergraduate co-authors are bolded)

Papers:

Bunker, AK, and Laughlin, MH. Influence of exercise and perivascular adipose tissue on coronary artery vasomotor function in a familial hypercholesterolemic porcine atherosclerosis model J Appl Physiol. 2010 Mar;108(3):490-7. Epub 2009 Dec 3. Editorial Comment in : J Appl Physiol. 2010 Mar;108(3):475-6.

Simmons, Grant H., Arturo A Arce-Esquivel, Aaron K. Bunker, H.T. Yang, Ronald L. Terjung, and M. Harold Laughlin. Exercise and Coronary Vascular Reactivity to Endothelin-1 in a preclinical model of peripheral arterial disease Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 42(5), 302.

Aaron K Bunker, Arturo A Arce-Esquivel, R. Scott Rector, Frank W. Booth, Jamal A. Ibdah, and M. Harold Laughlin. Physical activity maintains aortic endothelium dependent relaxation in the obese, type 2 diabetic OLETF rat. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2010 Jun;298(6):H1889-901. Epub 2010 Mar 19.

Anderson, Justin, Brice Buryanek, and Aaron Bunker. Differential Effects Between the Sexes of Ergogenic Aids on Skeletal Muscle Performance Journal for Young Investigators 2012 Dec:24(6):67-72.

Arturo A. Arce-Esquivel, Aaron K. Bunker, Grant Simmons, H.T. Yang, M. Harold Laughlin, and Ronald L.Terjung. Impaired coronary endothelial vasorelaxation in a preclinical model of peripheral arterial insufficiency. Journal of Heart and Cardiology Journal of Heart and Cardiology 2015: 1(2): 1-09.

Haedt, Nicholas, Kaitlin Gerber, Blake Schany, and Aaron Bunker. Effects of body position and arm used when taking blood pressure recordings in young healthy males and females. BIOS, a Quarterly Journal of Biology, July 2015: 86(2).

Aaron Bunker and Jeremy Schneider. Writing Across the Curriculum in a Human Physiology Class to Build Upon and Expand Content Knowledge Athens Journal of Education, 2015: 2(4): 331-344. 

Book Chapters:

Arturo A. Arce-Esquivel, Aaron K. Bunker, and M. Harold Laughlin (2011). Effects of Type 2 Diabetes on Arterial Endothelium, Recent Advances in the Pathogenesis, Prevention and Management of Type 2 Diabetes and its Complications, Mark B. Zimering, MD, PhD (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-307-597-6, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/articles/show/title/effects-of-type-2-diabetes-on-arterial-endothelium

Arturo A. Arce-Esquivel, Aaron K. Bunker, Catherine R. Mikus, and M. Harold Laughlin (2013). Insulin Resistance and Endothelial Dysfunction: Macro and Microangiopathy, Type 2 Diabetes, Kazuko Masuo, PhD (Ed.), ISBN: 978-953-51-1171-9, InTech, Available from: http://www.intechopen.com/books/type-2-diabetes/insulin-resistance-and-endothelial-dysfunction-macro-and-microangiopathy

Courses I have taught at Morningside:

General Physiology-BIOL321, Medical Terminology-BIOL221(online and face-to-face), Human Physiology-BIOL208, Microscopic Anatomy-BIOL325, Exercise Physiology-BIOL440, Biology Independent Research-BIOL422, Biology Internship-BIOL450, Biology Independent Study: Literature Review of Disease-BIOL492, First-Year Seminar-MORN101, Exercise Physiology-BIOL325, The Science of Health-BIOL151, Introduction to Veterinary Physiology-BIOL325, Composition-Inquiry-Communication-MORN102, Biology/Chemistry Capstone-BIOL460/CHEM460, Health and Nutrition-BIOL205(online and face-to-face)

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