Department of Physiology and Pharmacology

Jasenka Zubcevic, Ph.D.

Jasenka Associate Professor






Areas of expertise

Neural control of blood pressure, electrophysiology, rodent models of hypertension.


Education and training

BSc in Pharmacology with Study in Industry, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Bristol Heart Institute, Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom (July 2003).

PHD in Physiology, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, Bristol Heart Institute, Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, United Kingdom (July 2008).

Postdoctoral Fellow (2008- 2009) University of North Texas Department of Integrative Physiology

 Postdoctoral Fellow (2009-2010) University of Pennsylvania Department of Cell and Developmental Biology

 Postdoctoral Fellow (2010-2013) University of Florida Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics



Research Assistant Professor (2013-2014) University of Florida Department of Physiology and Functional Genomics

Assistant Professor (2014-2020) University of Florida Department of Physiological Sciences 

Associate Professor (2021-present) University of Toledo Department of Physiology and Pharmacology


Honors and awards

Donald J Reiss Memorial Trainee Award
American Physiological Society Cardiovascular Diseases Section


New Investigator Travel
AwardAmerican Heart Association


Best Presentation
AwardAmerican Heart Association


Onsite Trainee Poster Award
High Blood Pressure Research Scientific Sessions


C.E. Cornelius Young Investigator Award
College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida


The American Physiological Society Distinction in Scholarship
American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology


Research Interests

The overarching research theme of our laboratory is neural control of blood pressure in health and cardiometabolic disease. We focus our investigation on efferent and afferent mechanisms of blood pressure regulation that involve interactions between the CNS, ANS, cardiovascular, immune and GI systems. Most recently, we became interested in neural host-microbiota interactions via the vagal afferents present in the GI tract, and how these may regulate blood pressure in hypertension that is associated with gut dysbiosis. Our lab utilizes numerous in vitro, ex vivo, in vivo, in situ, electrophysiologic, imaging and multiple omics and bioinformatics approaches to answer research questions in several models of human cardiometabolic conditions including transgenic and humanized animals.


Lab Members 

 Elliott DirrDr. Elliott Dirr

 Postdoctoral Fellow




Nicole Bearss Mrs. Nicole Bearss

 Research Associate







  1. Gut-Liver Axis. Golonka RM, Cooper JK, Issa R, Devarasetty PP, Gokula V, Busken J, Zubcevic J, Hill J, Vijay-Kumar M, Menon B, Joe B. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2021 May 7;23(5):28. doi: 10.1007/s11906-021-01142-9
  2. Tumor Necrosis Factor Alpha and the Gastrointestinal Epithelium: Implications for the Gut-Brain Axis and Hypertension. Souders CL 2nd, Zubcevic J, Martyniuk CJ. Cell Mol Neurobiol. 2021 Feb 16. doi: 10.1007/s10571-021-01044-z. Online ahead of print.
  3. Ghrelin signaling regulates feeding behavior, metabolism, and memory through the vagus nerve. Davis EA, Wald HS, Suarez, AN, Zubcevic, J, Liu CM, Cortella AM, Kamitakahara AK, Polson JW, Arnold M, Grill HJ, de Lartigue G, Kanoski SE. Curr Biol. 2020 Sep 10:S0960-9822(20)31259-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2020.08.069. Online ahead of print.
  4. The importance of bone marrow and the immune system in driving increases in blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity in hypertension. Ahmari N, Hayward LF, Zubcevic J. Experimental Physiology, 10 September 2020 [in press.]
  5. Pulmonary arterial hypertension-associated changes in gut pathology and microbiota. Sharma RK, Oliveira AC, Yang T, Kim S, Zubcevic J, Aquino V, Lobaton GO, Goel R, Richards EM, Raizada MK. ERJ Open Res. 2020 Jul 27;6(3):00253-2019. doi: 10.1183/23120541.00253-2019. eCollection 2020 Jul.
  6. Gastrointestinal dysbiosis following diethylhexyl phthalate exposure in zebrafish (Danio rerio): altered microbial diversity, functionality, and network connectivity. Buerger AN, Dillon DT, Schmidt J, Yang T, Zubcevic J, Martyniuk CJ, Bisesi Jr JH. Environ Pollut. 2020 Oct;265(Pt B):114496. doi: 10.1016/j.envpol.2020.114496. Epub 2020 Apr 3.
  7. Genetic ablation of bone marrow beta-adrenergic receptors in mice modulates miRNA-transcriptome networks of neuroinflammation in the paraventricular nucleus. Martyniuk CJ, Martínez R, Kostyniuk DJ, Mennigen JA, Zubcevic J. Physiol Genomics. 2020 Apr 1;52(4):169-177. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00001.2020. Epub 2020 Feb 24.
  8. Gut microbiota and neuroinflammation in pathogenesis of hypertension: A potential role for hydrogen sulfide. Donertas Ayaz B, Zubcevic J. Pharmacol Res. 2020 Mar;153:104677. [doi: 10.1016/j.phrs.2020.104677]. Epub 2020 Feb 2.
  9. Attenuated Amiloride-Sensitive Current and Augmented Calcium-Activated Chloride Current in Marsh Rice Rat (Oryzomys palustris) Airways. Kuan SP, Liao YJ, Davis KM, Messer JG, Zubcevic J, Aguirre JI, Reznikov LR. iScience. 2019 Sep 27;19:737-748.[doi: 10.1016/j.isci.2019.08.011]. Epub 2019 Aug 8.
  10. Elevated bone marrow sympathetic drive precedes systemic inflammation in angiotensin II hypertension. Ahmari N, Santisteban MM, Miller DR, Geis NM, Larkin R, Redler T, Denson H, Khoshbouei H, Baekey DM, Raizada MK, Zubcevic J. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2019 Aug 1;317(2):H279-H289.
  11. Impaired Autonomic Nervous System-Microbiome Circuit in Hypertension: A Premise for Hypertension Therapy. Zubcevic J, Richards EM, Yang T, Kim S, Sumners C, Pepine CJ, Raizada MK. Circ Res. 2019 Jun 21;125(1):104-116. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.119.313965. Epub 2019 Jun 20. Review.
  12. Sustained Captopril-Induced Reduction in Blood Pressure Is Associated With Alterations in Gut-Brain Axis in the Spontaneously Hypertensive Rat. Yang T, Aquino V, Lobaton GO, Li H, Colon-Perez L, Goel R, Qi Y, Zubcevic J, Febo M, Richards EM, Pepine CJ, Raizada MK. J Am Heart Assoc. 2019 Feb 19;8(4):e010721. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.118.010721.
  13. Impaired butyrate absorption in the proximal colon, low serum butyrate and diminished central effects of butyrate on blood pressure in spontaneously hypertensive rats. Yang T, Magee KL, Colon-Perez LM, Larkin R, Liao YS, Balazic E, Cowart JR, Arocha R, Redler T, Febo M, Vickroy T, Martyniuk CJ, Reznikov LR, Zubcevic J. Acta Physiol (Oxf). 2019 Jan 18:e13256. doi: 10.1111/apha.13256. [Epub ahead of print]
  14. Comparison of Isoflurane, Ketamine-Dexmedetomidine, and Ketamine-Xylazine for General Anesthesia during Oral Procedures in Rice Rats (Oryzomys palustris). Jiron JM, Mendieta Calle JL, Castillo EJ, Abraham AM, Messer JG, Malphurs WL, Malinowski C, Grove K, Reznikov LR, Zubcevic J, Aguirre JI. J Am Assoc Lab Anim Sci. 2019 Jan 1;58(1):40-49. doi: 10.30802/AALAS-JAALAS-18-000032. Epub 2018 Dec 20.
  15. Increased Abundance of Lactobacillales in the Colon of Beta-Adrenergic Receptor Knock Out Mouse Is Associated With Increased Gut Bacterial Production of Short Chain Fatty Acids and Reduced IL17 Expression in Circulating CD4+ Immune Cells. Bartley A, Yang T, Arocha R, Malphurs WL, Larkin R, Magee KL, Vickroy TW, Zubcevic J. Front Physiol. 2018 Nov 13;9:1593. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2018.01593. eCollection 2018.
  16. Butyrate regulates inflammatory cytokine expression without affecting oxidative respiration in primary astrocytes from spontaneously hypertensive rats. Yang T, Rodriguez V, Malphurs WL, Schmidt JT, Ahmari N, Sumners C, Martyniuk CJ, Zubcevic J. Physiol Rep. 2018 Jul;6(14):e13732. doi: 10.14814/phy2.13732.
  17. Involvement of Neuroinflammation in the Pathogenesis of Monocrotaline-Induced Pulmonary Hypertension. Sharma RK, Oliveira AC, Kim S, Rigatto K, Zubcevic J, Rathinasabapathy A, Kumar A, Lebowitz JJ, Khoshbouei H, Lobaton G, Aquino V, Richards EM, Katovich MJ, Shenoy V, Raizada MK. Hypertension. 2018 Jun;71(6):1156-1163. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.118.10934. Epub 2018 Apr 30.
  18. MEMRI reveals altered activity in brain regions associated with anxiety, locomotion, and cardiovascular reactivity on the elevated plus maze in the WKY vs SHR rats. Zubcevic J, Watkins J, Perez PD, Colon-Perez LM, Long MT, Febo M, Hayward L. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018 Oct;12(5):1318-1331. doi: 10.1007/s11682-017-9798-4.
  19. Gut-Brain Axis in Regulation of Blood Pressure. Yang T, Zubcevic J. Front Physiol. 2017 Oct 25;8:845. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00845. eCollection 2017. Review.
  20. A Single Angiotensin II Hypertensive Stimulus Is Associated with Prolonged Neuronal and Immune System Activation in Wistar-Kyoto Rats. Zubcevic J, Santisteban MM, Perez PD, Arocha R, Hiller H, Malphurs WL, Colon-Perez LM, Sharma RK, de Kloet A, Krause EG, Febo M, Raizada MK. Front Physiol. 2017 Aug 31;8:592. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00592. eCollection 2017.
  21. Transcriptional networks in rodent models support a role for gut-brain communication in neurogenic hypertension: a review of the evidence. Zubcevic J, Baker A, Martyniuk CJ. Physiol Genomics. 2017 Jul 1;49(7):327-338. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00010.2017. Epub 2017 May 26. Review.
  22. Shifts in the Gut Microbiota Composition Due to Depleted Bone Marrow Beta Adrenergic Signaling Are Associated with Suppressed Inflammatory Transcriptional Networks in the Mouse Colon. Yang T, Ahmari N, Schmidt JT, Redler T, Arocha R, Pacholec K, Magee KL, Malphurs W, Owen JL, Krane GA, Li E, Wang GP, Vickroy TW, Raizada MK, Martyniuk CJ, Zubcevic J. Front Physiol. 2017 Apr 12;8:220. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2017.00220. eCollection 2017.
  23. Cocaine differentially affects synaptic activity in memory and midbrain areas of female and male rats: an in vivo MEMRI study. Perez PD, Hall G, Zubcevic J, Febo M. Brain Imaging Behav. 2018 Feb;12(1):201-216. doi: 10.1007/s11682-017-9691-1.
  24. Hypertension-Linked Pathophysiological Alterations in the Gut. Santisteban MM, Qi Y, Zubcevic J, Kim S, Yang T, Shenoy V, Cole-Jeffrey CT, Lobaton GO, Stewart DC, Rubiano A, Simmons CS, Garcia-Pereira F, Johnson RD, Pepine CJ, Raizada MK. Circ Res. 2017 Jan 20;120(2):312-323. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.116.309006. Epub 2016 Oct 31.
  25. Loss of bone marrow adrenergic beta 1 and 2 receptors modifies transcriptional networks, reduces circulating inflammatory factors, and regulates blood pressure. Ahmari N, Schmidt JT, Krane GA, Malphurs W, Cunningham BE, Owen JL, Martyniuk CJ, Zubcevic J. Physiol Genomics. 2016 Jul 1;48(7):526-36. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00039.2016. Epub 2016 May 27.
  26. Involvement of bone marrow cells and neuroinflammation in hypertension. Santisteban MM, Ahmari N, Carvajal JM, Zingler MB, Qi Y, Kim S, Joseph J, Garcia-Pereira F, Johnson RD, Shenoy V, Raizada MK, Zubcevic J. Circ Res. 2015 Jul 3;117(2):178-91. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.117.305853. Epub 2015 May 11.
  27. Gut dysbiosis is linked to hypertension. Yang T, Santisteban MM, Rodriguez V, Li E, Ahmari N, Carvajal JM, Zadeh M, Gong M, Qi Y, Zubcevic J, Sahay B, Pepine CJ, Raizada MK, Mohamadzadeh M. Hypertension. 2015 Jun;65(6):1331-40. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.115.05315. Epub 2015 Apr 13.
  28. Functional neural-bone marrow pathways: implications in hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Zubcevic J, Santisteban MM, Pitts T, Baekey DM, Perez PD, Bolser DC, Febo M, Raizada MK. Hypertension. 2014 Jun;63(6):e129-39. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.114.02440. Epub 2014 Mar 31. Review.  
  29. Altered inflammatory response is associated with an impaired autonomic input to the bone marrow in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Zubcevic J, Jun JY, Kim S, Perez PD, Afzal A, Shan Z, Li W, Santisteban MM, Yuan W, Febo M, Mocco J, Feng Y, Scott E, Baekey DM, Raizada MK. Hypertension. 2014 Mar;63(3):542-50. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.113.02722. Epub 2013 Dec 23.
  30. Dysfunctional brain-bone marrow communication: a paradigm shift in the pathophysiology of hypertension. Santisteban MM, Zubcevic J, Baekey DM, Raizada MK. Curr Hypertens Rep. 2013 Aug;15(4):377-89. doi: 10.1007/s11906-013-0361-4. Review.
  31. Chronic knockdown of the nucleus of the solitary tract AT1 receptors increases blood inflammatory-endothelial progenitor cell ratio and exacerbates hypertension in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Shan Z, Zubcevic J, Shi P, Jun JY, Dong Y, Murça TM, Lamont GJ, Cuadra A, Yuan W, Qi Y, Li Q, Paton JF, Katovich MJ, Sumners C, Raizada MK. Hypertension. 2013 Jun;61(6):1328-33. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.00156. Epub 2013 Apr 1.
  32. Neuroimmune communication in hypertension and obesity: a new therapeutic angle? de Kloet AD, Krause EG, Shi PD, Zubcevic J, Raizada MK, Sumners C. Pharmacol Ther. 2013 Jun;138(3):428-40. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2013.02.005. Epub 2013 Feb 28. Review.
  33. Nucleus of the solitary tract (pro)renin receptor-mediated antihypertensive effect involves nuclear factor-κB-cytokine signaling in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Zubcevic J, Jun JY, Lamont G, Murça TM, Shi P, Yuan W, Lin F, Carvajal JM, Li Q, Sumners C, Raizada MK, Shan Z. Hypertension. 2013 Mar;61(3):622-7. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.199836. Epub 2013 Jan 14.
  34. Brain-mediated dysregulation of the bone marrow activity in angiotensin II-induced hypertension. Jun JY, Zubcevic J, Qi Y, Afzal A, Carvajal JM, Thinschmidt JS, Grant MB, Mocco J, Raizada MK. Hypertension. 2012 Nov;60(5):1316-23. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.112.199547. Epub 2012 Oct 8.
  35. Autonomic-immune-vascular interaction: an emerging concept for neurogenic hypertension. Zubcevic J, Waki H, Raizada MK, Paton JF. Hypertension. 2011 Jun;57(6):1026-33. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.111.169748. Epub 2011 May 2. Review.
  36. Role of GABAergic neurones in the nucleus tractus solitarii in modulation of cardiovascular activity. Zubcevic J, Potts JT. Exp Physiol. 2010 Sep;95(9):909-18. doi: 10.1113/expphysiol.2010.054007. Epub 2010 Jun 30.
  37. Shift to an involvement of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in angiotensin II actions on nucleus tractus solitarii neurons of the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Sun C, Zubcevic J, Polson JW, Potts JT, Diez-Freire C, Zhang Q, Paton JF, Raizada MK. Circ Res. 2009 Dec 4;105(12):1248-55. doi: 10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.109.208926. Epub 2009 Oct 22.
  38. Chronic blockade of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase in the nucleus tractus solitarii is prohypertensive in the spontaneously hypertensive rat. Zubcevic J, Waki H, Diez-Freire C, Gampel A, Raizada MK, Paton JF. Hypertension. 2009 Jan;53(1):97-103. doi: 10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.108.122341. Epub 2008 Nov 17.
  39. Structure-based discovery of a novel angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 inhibitor. Huentelman MJ, Zubcevic J, Hernández Prada JA, Xiao X, Dimitrov DS, Raizada MK, Ostrov DA. Hypertension. 2004 Dec;44(6):903-6. Epub 2004 Oct 18.
  40. Cloning and characterization of a secreted form of angiotensin-converting enzyme 2. Huentelman MJ, Zubcevic J, Katovich MJ, Raizada MK. Regul Pept. 2004 Oct 15;122(2):61-7.


Tiny gut organisms may influence our food cravings and what our bodies do with fat. Zubcevic J and Martyniuk CM. The Washington Post, Aug 13th, 2017. 

Your gut may help you lose weight, fight depression and lower blood pressure. Zubcevic J and Martyniuk CM. The Observer, July 10th, 2017.

Last Updated: 6/27/22