Faculty at the Institute for Aging Research

Sushmita Purkayastha, Ph.D

Cardiovascular Physiologist
Cardiovascular Syncope and Falls Research & Outreach

Institute for Aging Research
1200 Centre Street
Boston, MA 02131

Sushmita Purkayastha is a NIH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the IFAR Cardiovascular Falls and Syncope and Harvard Medical School. Trained as a physiologist, Dr. Purkayastha’s research is focused on examining the role of cerebrovascular hemodynamics and cerebral white matter integrity in elderly individuals associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Currently she is designing effective therapeutic interventions to prevent decline in physical function and cognition in the elderly population.

Dr. Purkayastha joined IFAR in December 2011 as a NIH T32 Postdoctoral Research Fellow. During her Fellowship she has published papers related to the role of the alpha-1 adrenergic receptors in cerebral blood flow regulation. She has also published on the technique, clinical and research application of Transcranial Doppler ultrasound used to measure cerebrovascular function. She has also received the American Autonomic Society Travel Fellowship Award for 23rd International Symposium on the Autonomic Nervous System in 2012.

Dr. Purkayastha obtained a Masters degree in Human Physiology from University of Calcutta in India followed by a second Masters degree in Exercise Physiology at University of Texas at Arlington. She graduated with a Ph.D. degree in Biomedical Sciences from University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Purkayastha is trained in different aspects of brain blood flow regulation and baroreflex functions. Her dissertation project was focused on examining the role of the sympathetic nervous system in cerebral blood flow regulation in healthy humans during rest and dynamic exercise. She identified the functional role of alpha-1 adrenergic receptors in cerebral blood flow regulation in healthy young adults. She was a co-instructor for Exercise Science laboratory and an instructor for Biophysical Principles of Human Movement laboratory in the Department of Kinesiology at the University of Arlington.
Dr. Purkayastha’s future goal is to gain more experience in the field of clinical physiological research and develop her career as an independent researcher in the field of biology of aging.

With the pandemic of hyperadrenergic diseases and the increase in life expectancy of our population, Dr. Purkayastha’s career goal is to further explore the biological factors associated with life-long increases in sympathetic activity and early intervention on cognitive decline and examine lifestyle changes such as caloric restriction, physical activity, pharmacologic intervention which might ameliorate cognitive decline and dementia and, thereby, improve health and quality of life of the elderly people.

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