Carie Boychuk, PhD

Associate Professor

  • BS: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Ph.D.: University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: George Washington University, Washington, DC
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY

Carie Boychuk, PhD

Office: 324 Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center
Phone: 573-882-2359


Autonomic control of cardiometabolic function

Our laboratory focuses on the role of brainstem autonomic circuits in the control of cardiometabolic function, with a specific emphasis on the generation of parasympathetic motor output to organ systems critical in the regulation of cardiometabolic physiology. Parasympathetic premotor neurons of the brainstem send direct axonal projections to parasympathetic ganglia located in close apposition to their organ projections. These ganglia are to varying degrees subservient to their premotor neuron, and therefore parasympathetic premotor neurons are critical in the overall generation of parasympathetic motor output. Despite a robust understanding of the anatomy of these systems, understanding of how these parasympathetic premotor neurons integrate upstream central neurotransmission and intracellular signaling cascades remains limited, especially in the context of cardiometabolic diseases. Therefore, the aims of my laboratory are to expand our understanding of the generation of parasympathetic premotor neuron activity. Towards this goal we utilize a multidisciplinary approach that includes the use of integrated whole animal approaches and brain slice electrophysiology. We pair both techniques with innovative neuroscience techniques such as the generation of novel transgenic mouse lines and opto-/chemogenetics. Our efforts are important steps towards the development of centrally acting drugs that can effectively and safely alter parasympathetic motor output, since virtually no drugs exist on the market targeting this system.

We are always looking for talented trainees at all levels. Please inquire with Dr. Boychuk ( if you are interested in joining our team.     


Complete list of publications:

Dorsal motor vagal neurons can elicit bradycardia and reduce anxiety-like behavior. Strain MM, Conley NJ, Kauffman LS, Espinoza L, Fedorchak S, Martinez PC, Crook ME, Jalil M, Hodes GE, Abbott SBG, Güler AD, Campbell JN, Boychuk CR. iScience. 2024 Feb 6;27(3):109137. doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2024.109137. eCollection 2024 Mar 15. PMID: 38420585

Early central cardiovagal dysfunction after high fat diet in a murine model.Strain MM, Espinoza L, Fedorchak S, Littlejohn EL, Andrade MA, Toney GM, Boychuk CR. Sci Rep. 2023 Apr 21;13(1):6550. doi: 10.1038/s41598-023-32492-w. PMID: 37085567

Protein Kinase C-Dependent Effects of Neurosteroids on Synaptic GABAA Receptor Inhibition Require the δ-Subunit. Littlejohn EL, Boychuk CR. Front Physiol. 2021 Oct 25;12:742838. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.742838. eCollection 2021. PMID: 34759836

Interplay Between Systemic Metabolic Cues and Autonomic Output: Connecting Cardiometabolic Function and Parasympathetic Circuits. Espinoza L, Fedorchak S, Boychuk CR. Front Physiol. 2021 Mar 11;12:624595. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2021.624595. eCollection 2021. PMID: 33776789

Diabetes, and its treatment, as an effector of autonomic nervous system circuits and its functions. Espinoza L, Boychuk CR. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2020 Oct;54:18-26. doi: 10.1016/j.coph.2020.06.006. Epub 2020 Jul 25. PMID: 32721846

Sex-steroid-dependent plasticity of brain-stem autonomic circuits. Littlejohn EL, Fedorchak S, Boychuk CR. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2020 Jul 1;319(1):R60-R68. doi: 0.1152/ajpregu.00357.2019. Epub 2020 Jun 3. PMID: 32493037

GABAA receptor currents in the dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus in females: influence of ovarian cycle and 5α-reductase inhibition. Littlejohn EL, Espinoza L, Lopez MM, Smith BN, Boychuk CR. J Neurophysiol. 2019 Nov 1;122(5):2130-2141. doi: 10.1152/jn.00039.2019. Epub 2019 Oct 9. PMID: 31596653

A hindbrain inhibitory microcircuit mediates vagally-coordinated glucose regulation. Boychuk CR, Smith KC, Peterson LE, Boychuk JA, Butler CR, Derera ID, McCarthy JJ, Smith BN. Sci Rep. 2019 Feb 25;9(1):2722. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-39490-x. PMID: 30804396