J. Michael Wyss, PhD

Primary Institution:
University of Alabama at Birmingham
Center for Community OutReach Development (CORD)
Professor of Cell, Developmental and Integrative Biology, Medicine, Neurobiology, Biology and Psychology
Director, Center for Community OutReach Development
Director UAB STEM Center
Current SEPA Project
  • Science Education Enabling Careers II (SEEC II)
    R25GM132967-01 : 03/16/2019 - 02/28/2024

  • Michael Wyss has mentored 7 undergraduate minority students in his biomedical/behavioral research. All of them have completed BS degrees or are in the process of completing them. His biomedical research focuses on three major areas. The first research focus is on neuronal plasticity and grows out of his studies demonstrating that a specific group of pyramidal neurons in the rat retrosplenial cortex displays a dramatic alteration in their structure as the animal ages that lead to molecular and behavioral changes including a significant decrease in spatially learning. I continue to direct the UAB Behavioral Phenotyping Core as an extension of these studies into learning and memory. The second research focus is on the mechanisms by which the hypothalamus regulates blood pressure in salt-sensitive individuals. This work has recently focused on the ability of polyphenols to blunt hypertension. These studies have recently converged on several common dietary supplements and their effects on cognition and cardiovascular control, namely puerarin and its ability to blunt metabolic disease components, perinatal taurine and its ability to regulate renal and cardiovascular function in adults and grape seed proanthrocyanidins and their ability decrease brain aging. The third area is related to the influence of perintal taurine and sugar exposure on adult cardiovascular and metabolic function. All three of these research areas are investigating how metabolic disease can effect adult cardiovascular, metabolic and cognitive function. In 1990 Dr Wyss established the UAB Core for blood Pressure research, which includes a large telemetry core. That was incorporated into the Physiology and Behavior Core funded by the UAB Neuroscience Center grant from NIH, and he continues to direct the Core’s operation. In the late 1990s this Core published the first use of telemetry monitoring of blood pressure in mice. For over 30 years, Dr. Wyss has been committed to mentoring young scientists through his various outreach and research activities and administrative duties. As Director of the UAB Center for Community Outreach Development (CORD), Dr. Wyss directs much of the University’s K-12 STEM education outreach, and he developed several new programs and expanded previously successful programs, especially for underrepresented and minority students, in large part, by providing their teachers the requisite knowledge base and effective, inquiry-based tools to educate their students. Many of these research/education programs focus on obesity and diabetes in adolescent minority girls. He is currently mentoring 2 postdoctoral fellows (one a current NIH MERIT scholar), and developing these great fellows into both biomedical researchers and outstanding STEM education leaders for the future. He has trained 18 undergraduate and 12 postdoctoral fellows at CORD in the past 14 years.

    Associated SEPA Project(s)