COVID-19 Information

Edit Entry | Edit CV

Eugene E. Nattie Jr, MD

Emeritus Professor of Molecular and Systems Biology

Molecular and Systems Biology

Dartmouth Medical School, BMS 1968
Harvard Medical School, MD 1971

Neuroscience Center at Dartmouth
Program in Experimental and Molecular Medicine


Contact Information

HB 7700
Dartmouth Hithcock Medical Center
Geisel School of Medicine
Lebanon NH 03756

Office: Borwell 7

Professional Interests

Dr. Nattie’s research focuses on the role of the brainstem in the regulation of breathing and blood pressure. Specifically, he is interested in central chemoreception, in how, where, and why the brain can sense changes in CO2 and/or pH and, as a result, effect changes in breathing, sympathetic nervous system outflow, and blood pressure. These CO2 sensing functions appear to be located at many sites within in the brainstem. The mechanism of sensing CO2 may involve a specific pH or CO2 sensitive membrane receptor or it may involve effects on some membrane or synaptic function in an indirect manner. Destruction or transgenic disruption via virus injection of the region labeled the retrotrapezoid nucleus in the ventrolateral medulla results in a severe loss of CO2 responsiveness. Destruction or transgenic disruption via virus injection of nearby neurons results in decreased blood pressure with but minor effects on breathing. In addition to the study of central chemoreception, Dr. Nattie's lab is evaluating the role of serotonin neurons in unanesthetised neonatal rat and mouse models in the regulation of breathing and heart rate in the early postnatal period. These medullary serotonergic neuron groups may be homologous with brainstem regions described as abnormal in Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) victims.

Rotations and Thesis Projects

Rotations can involve studies in adult rats of central chemoreceptor involvement in breathing and blood pressure regulation or in newborn rats and transgenic mice of the physiological role of brainstem serotonin (5HT) neurons in the breathing and blood pressure responses to asphyxia and hypoxia. All studies are in unanesthetized animals.

Grant Information

Program Project Grant from NICHD on the “Ventral Medulla and SIDS” with funding until 4/2018

R01 on Central Chemoreception funded until 4/2018.

Courses Taught

Cardiovascular and Respiratory Physiology for year-one medical students and in the year two course on the Scientific Basis of Medicine. Also participates in year-1 PEMM courses.


Gene has taught as a small group leader and lecturer in the year one Cardiovascular and Respiratory physiology course since 1975. He has also lectured in the year one Neuroscience course and in the Scientific Basis of Medicine Respiration Course. He has been a mentor of many graduate students in Physiology and Neurobiology. He has also offered a fourth year elective on Physiology in the Intensive Care Unit, which is a physiologically based tutorial based on cases.

Mentoring Information

Dr. Nattie is not accepting rotation or thesis students for 2016.17.

Selected Publications


  • Cummings KJ, Commons KG, Fan KC, Li A, Nattie EE. Severe spontaneous bradycardia associated with respiratory disruptions in rat pups with fewer brain stem 5-HT neurons. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2009 Jun;296(6):R1783-96. (view details in PubMed)

  • Duncan JR, Paterson DS, Hoffman JM, Mokler DJ, Borenstein NS, Belliveau RA, Krous HF, Haas EA, Stanley C, Nattie EE, Trachtenberg FL, Kinney HC. Brainstem serotonergic deficiency in sudden infant death syndrome. JAMA. 2010 Feb 3;303(5):430-7. (view details in PubMed)

  • Nattie E, Li A. Central chemoreception in wakefulness and sleep: evidence for a distributed network and a role for orexin. J Appl Physiol. 2010 May;108(5):1417-24. Epub 2010 Feb 4. Review. (view details in PubMed)

  • Marina N, Abdala AP, Trapp S, Li A, Nattie EE, Hewinson J, Smith JC, Paton JF, Gourine AV. Essential role of Phox2b-expressing ventrolateral brainstem neurons in the chemosensory control of inspiration and expiration. J Neurosci. 2010 Sep 15;30(37):12466-73. (view details in PubMed)

  • Cummings KJ, Commons KG, Hewitt JC, Daubenspeck JA, Li A, Kinney HC, Nattie EE. Failed heart rate recovery at a critical age in 5-HT-deficient mice exposed to episodic anoxia: implications for SIDS. J Appl Physiol. 2011 Sep;111(3):825-33. (view details in PubMed)

  • Ray RS, Corcoran AE, Brust RD, Kim JC, Richerson GB, Nattie E, Dymecki SM. Impaired respiratory and body temperature control upon acute serotonergic neuron inhibition. Science. 2011 Jul 29;333(6042):637-42. (view details in PubMed)

  • Cummings KJ, Hewitt JC, Li A, Daubenspeck JA, Nattie EE. Postnatal loss of brainstem serotonin neurones compromises the ability of neonatal rats to survive episodic severe hypoxia. J Physiol. 2011 Nov 1;589(Pt 21):5247-56. (view details in PubMed)

  • Li A, Nattie E. Orexin, cardio-respiratory function, and hypertension. Front Neurosci. 2014 Feb 12;8:22 (view details in PubMed)

  • Li N, Nattie E, Li A. The Role of Melanin Concentrating Hormone (MCH) in the Central Chemoreflex: A Knockdown Study by siRNA in the Lateral Hypothalamus in Rats. PLoS One. 2014 Aug;9:e103585 (view details in PubMed)