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Photo of Diana Martinez, PhD

Diana Martinez, PhD

Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences

About Me

Diana Martinez, PhD, joined CMSRU as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Sciences in February 2021.

 In 2015, Dr. Martinez earned her PhD in Biology/Neuroscience at the joint graduate program of New Jersey Institute of Technology and Rutgers University in Newark, NJ. Her graduate research focused on understanding the relationship between intrinsic cellular and synaptic properties that give rise to stable activity in a motor network in the crab Cancer borealis. During her predoctoral training, she received a competitive full scholarship to attend the Neural Systems and Behavior course in the world renowned Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, MA.

During her one-year postdoctoral position at McGill University, she was interested in understanding how neurons process sensory information. Her work, along with other studies in related species of weakly electric fish has provided a comparative foundational understanding on sensory processing. Previous studies, had not fully connected or provided the background on this adaptation of neural strategies for coding. She developed new skills in electrophysiological recordings from awake behaving animals, and acquiring/analyzing sensory responses of neurons to different biologically relevant stimuli. This work was published in the Journal of Neurophysiology.

Having a strong interest in neural control of autonomic regulation specifically synaptic plasticity, she joined the Kline Laboratory at the University of Columbia, Missouri in 2017. During this time, she examined the role of astrocytes and excitatory amino acid astrocytic transporters within the nucleus of the solitary tract (nTS), the first site of afferent integration in the brain. She found that in a rodent model of Obstructive Sleep Apnea, these transporters within the nTS are in part responsible for the increased blood pressure in those who have Obstructive Sleep Apnea. Additionally, she determined the role of these transporters in influencing other metabotropic glutamate receptors. During this time, she was awarded a two-year American Heart Association postdoctoral grant based on this work.

Thus far, during her career, Dr. Martinez has published 13 journal articles with six as primary author, 1 review, and 1 book chapter. To read more about her work and recent publications, visit

At CMSRU, Dr. Martinez will study the central mechanisms of cardiorespiratory dysfunction (synaptic physiology and neural networks) with a focus on sleep using patch electrophysiology, calcium and glutamate imaging, acute recordings of cardiorespiratory parameters, molecular methods, and 24/7 telemetry.