Iara Backes

Iara Backes
Mentor: Dr. Deborah Scheuer
College of Medicine
"Before becoming a Gator, I was at small campus that to my knowledge did not offer any research, but due to the initiative of my then general chemistry professor, Dr. James Ley, a little research seed was planted and I found my way into his humble lab, and became excited by participating in research. One of the reasons I decided to come to UF was due to its prowess in research and I really wanted to come here and get involved. Thanks to Dr. Scheuer and Dr. Erdos I am able to learn some really amazing things here that go beyond my expectations!"





Research Interests

  • Neural Control of Circulation
  • Neuroimmunology
  • Neurology

Academic Awards

  • UF University Scholars Program
  • MDC Board of Trustees Scholarship
  • President's List
  • MDC Annual Academic Excellence Award


  • UF Chemistry Club


  • Shands Emergency Department
  • P.K. Yonge Science Club

Hobbies and Interests

  • Reading
  • Live Music
  • Cooking
  • Belly Dancing

Research Description

The Effect of Insulin-induced Hypoglycemia on Baroreflex Sensitivity: Role of Mineralocorticoid Receptors
Background: The baroreceptor reflex, also known as the baroreflex is an important negative feedback loop mechanism used by the body to maintain blood pressure homeostasis. Due to its important role in blood pressure regulation, reduced baroreflex sensitivity (BRS) plays a critical role in the development of cardiovascular disease. Recent findings suggest that hypoglycemic episodes in humans reduce baroreflex function (Adler, 2009), however further research is necessary in order to better understand this relationship. Diabetes and cardiovascular disease are widespread and of upmost importance in healthcare. In this study we will be testing the hypothesis that insulin induced hypoglycemia attenuates BRS in male Sprague-Dawley rats, and that blockade of mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) in the dorsal hindbrain can restore BRS. Methods: Rats will be implanted with radiotelemetry transmitters for measurement of arterial pressure and heart rate. After two weeks of surgical recovery, there will be a one week period of baseline cardiovascular data collection. After this baseline data collection the rats will be given a choice of either 1.8% saline or water to drink. One week later rats will be implanted with cholesterol or spironolactone(an MR antagonist) pellets over the dorsal hindbrain. One week after that human insulin will be administered i.p to lower glucose to approximately 50 mg/dl, and several tail blood samples will be taken to measure blood glucose levels. Food will be withheld for 3 hours after insulin delivery, while rats are being monitored and cardiovascular data is collected. The data collected during this experiment will be analyzed to determine spontaneous baroreflex sensitivity using the sequence method in conjunction with Hemolab and DSI software. If these preliminary results show promising data, a more complete method to study the baroreflex known as the Oxford method, will be employed. Better understanding the relationship between BRS and hypoglycemia has high clinical relevance and may help reduce the mortality of individuals suffering from either of these life threatening diseases.