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Directory Page Title

Robin Looft-Wilson


Office: Adair Hall 113
Phone: 757-221-2784
Email: [[rlooft]]
Research web page: {{, Vascular Physiology}}

{{, Google Scholar Profile}}

Areas of Specialization

Cardiovascular Physiology, Exercise Physiology, Epigenetics


Raised in a military family, Dr. Looft-Wilson has lived all over the U.S., but finally settled in northern California. While in California, she received a B.S. and M.S. from the University of California at Davis, and then spent a few years working at NASA-Ames Research Center in the Life Sciences Division on projects related to astronaut health and physiology. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Iowa School of Medicine and a post-doctoral fellowship at Yale University School of Medicine, studying blood vessel function at both of these institutions. She joined the Kinesiology Department at William & Mary in August 2004, and now, along with the members of her laboratory, is conducting studies on artery function, remodeling, and gene expression. The goal of Dr. Looft-Wilson's laboratory research is to understand how risk factors for cardiovascular disease impair artery function and contribute to the disease process.

  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, Pharmacology, Yale University School of Medicine 2003-2004 (Mentor: William C. Sessa, Ph.D.)
  • Post-Doctoral Fellow, John B. Pierce Laboratory and Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine 2001-2003 (Mentor: Steven S. Segal, Ph.D.)
  • Ph.D., University of Iowa, Physiology and Biophysics 2000 (Mentor: Carl V. Gisolfi, Ph.D.)
  • M.S., University of California, Davis, Exercise Science 1992
  • B.S., University of California, Davis, Physical Education 1988
Courses Taught
  • Cardiovascular Physiology (KINE 450)
  • Physiology of Aging (KINE 360)
  • Neurophysiology of Aging (KINE 401)
  • Physiology of Obesity (KINE 455)
  • Eating: Nutrition, Digestion, Appetite (KINE 100)
  • Physiology Journal Club (KINE 461)
  • Independent Study in Kinesiology (KINE 470, 471)
  • Kinesiology Research (KINE 480, 481)
  • Kinesiology Honors (KINE 495, 496)
  • R. C. Looft-Wilson, J. K. Stechmann, K. G. Milenski, V. M. Shah, P. G. Kulkarni, A. B. Arif, T. Guiot, N. M. C. Beinlich, C. C. Dos Santos, and S. K. Rice.  Myoendothelial feedback in mouse mesenteric resistance arteries is similar between the sexes, dependent on nitric oxide synthase, and independent of TPRV4.  Am. J. Physiol. - Heart Circ. Physiol. Nov., 3, 2023.  [In Press]
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C.J.E. Billig, and W.C. Sessa.  Shear stress attenuates inward remodeling in cultured mouse thoracodorsal arteries in an eNOS-dependent, but non-hemodynamic manner, and increases Cx37 expression. Journal of Vascular Research 56:284-295, 2019

  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., S.E. Todd, K.M. Berberich, and M.R. Wolfert.  Flow Does Not Increase eNOS Phosphoryation at Ser1179 in Pre-constricted Mouse Mesenteric Arteries.  Physiological Reports 6:e13864, 2018
  • Biwer, L., M. Good, K. Hong, R. Patel, N. Agrawal, R. Looft-Wilson, S. Sonkusare, and B. Isakson.  Non-endoplasmic reticulum based calreticulin can coordinate heterocellular calcium signaling and vascular function.  Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology, 38:120-130, 2018.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., C. R. Goodell, C.A. Araj, S.M. Mutchler, K.L. Miller, and M. Guraya.  Increased myoendothelial feedback is associated with increased connexin37 and IK1 expression in mesenteric arteries of diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemic mice. Microcirculation, 24(8), 2017. doi: 10.1111/micc.12398.
  • Jacot, J.L., R.C. Looft-Wilson, N. Yousefieh, F.A. Lattanzio, and A. Hosseini.  The Vasoproliferative phase in the oxygen-induced rat model of retinopathy of prematurity exhibits concomitant increased expression of VEGF164 and phosphorylation of eNOS at serine 1179Journal of Clinical Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, 1:12-20, 2017.​
  • Looft-Wilson RC, Todd SE, Araj CA, Mutchler SM, Goodell CA. Alpha(1)-adrenergic-mediated eNOS phosphorylation in intact arteries. Vascular Pharmacology, 58:112-117, 2013.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., M. Billaud, S.R. Johnstone, A.C. Straub, and B.E. Isakson. Interaction between nitric oxide signaling and gap junctions: Effects on vascular function. Biochim. Biophys. Acta, 1818:1895-902, 2012.
  • Billaud, M., A.W. Lohman, A.C. Straub, R Looft-Wilson, S.R. Johnstone, C.A. Araj, A.K. Best, F. Chekeni, K. Ravichandran, S. Penuela, D.W. Laird, B.E. Isakson. Pannexin1 regulates a1-adrnergic receptor-mediated vasoconstriction. Circulation Research, 109: 80-85, 2011.
  • Straub AC, Billaud M, Johnstone SR, Best AK, Yemen S, Dwyer ST, Looft-Wilson R, Lysiak JJ, Gaston B, Palmer L, Isakson BE. Compartmentalized Connexin 43 S-Nitrosylation/Denitrosylation Regulates Heterocellular Communication in the Vessel Wall. Arterioscler. Thromb. Vasc. Biol. 31:399-407, 2011. 
  • Heberlein, K., Straub, A.C., Best, A.K., Greyson, M.A., Looft-Wilson, R.C., Sharma, P.R., Meher, A., Leitinger, N., Isakson, B.E.  Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor-1 Regulates Myoendothelial Junction Formation.  Circulation Research 106:1092-1102, 2010.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., B.S. Ashley, J.E. Billig, M.R. Wolfert, L.A. Ambrecht, and S.E. Bearden. Chronic diet-induced hyperhomocysteinemia impairs eNOS regulation in mouse mesenteric arteries. Am. J. Physiol., 295:R59-66, 2008.
  • Bearden, S.E., E.S. Linn, B.S. Ashley, and R.C. Looft-Wilson. Age-related changes in conducted vasodilation: effects of exercise training and role in functional hyperemia. Am. J. Physiol. 293:R1717-1721, 2007.
  • Atochin, D.N., A. Wang, V.W. Liu, J.D. Critchlow, A.P. Dantas, R. Looft-Wilson, T. Murata, S. Salomone, H.K. Shin, C. Ayata, M.A. Moskowitz, T. Michel, W.C. Sessa, and P.L. Huang. The phosphorylation state of eNOS modulates vascular reactivity and outcome of cerbral ischemia in vivo. J. Clin. Invest. 117:1961-1967, 2007.
  • Carroll, R.G., M.L. Matyas, A.E. Atwater, V. Doze, R. Faircloth, P. Finkenstadt, B. Goodman, E.J. Henriksen, B. Horwitz, R. Looft-Wilson, B. Madsen, J. Mody, N. Pelaez, T.A. Pressley. APS undergraduate brainstorming report. Adv Physiol Educ. 4:380-6, 2007.
  • Bauer, P.M., J. Yu, Y. Chen, R. Hickey, P.N. Bernatchez, R. Looft-Wilson, Y. Huang, F. Giordano, R.V. Stan, and W.C. Sessa. Endothelial-specific expression of caveolin-1 impairs microvascular permeability and angiogenesis. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 102: 204-209, 2005.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C.*, G.W. Payne*, and S.S. Segal. Connexin expression and conducted vasodilation along arteriolar endothelium in mouse skeletal muscle. J. Applied Physiol., 97: 1152-1158, 2004. * these authors contributed equally.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., S.J. Haug, P.D. Neufer, and S.S. Segal. Independence of connexin expression and conduction from sympathetic innervation in hamster microvessels. Microcirculation, 11: 397-408, 2004.
  • Sandow, S.L.*, R.C. Looft-Wilson*, B. Doran, T.H. Grayson, S.S. Segal, and C.E. Hill. Expression of homocellular and heterocellular gap junctions in hamster arterioles and feed arteries. Cardiovasc. Res. 60: 643-653, 2003. * these authors contributed equally.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., J.R. Falck, U. Murali Krishna, and C.V. Gisolfi. Antagonists of the 20-HETE pathway inhibit rat small mesenteric artery tone. Microvasc. Res. 64: 349-352, 2002.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., and C.V. Gisolfi. Peripheral vascular responses to heat stress after hindlimb suspension. Med Sci. Sports Exerc. 34: 1120-1125, 2002.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., and C.V. Gisolfi. Rat small mesenteric artery function after hindlimb suspension. J. Appl. Physiol. 88: 1199-1206, 2000.
  • Looft-Wilson, R.C., R.D. Matthes, and C.V. Gisolfi. Heat acclimation does not alter rat mesenteric artery response to norepinephrine. J. Appl. Physiol. 86: 536-540, 1999.
  • McKenzie, M.A., J.E. Greenleaf, R. Looft-Wilson, and P.R. Barnes. Leucocytosis, thrombocytosis, and plasma osmolality during rest and exercise: an hypothesis. J. Physiol. Pharmacol. 50: 259-273, 1999.
  • Greenleaf, J.E., R. Looft-Wilson, J.L. Wisherd, C.G. Jackson, P.P. Fung, A.C. Ertl, P.R. Barnes, C.D. Jensen, and J.H. Whittam. Hypervolemia in men from fluid ingestion at rest and during exercise. Aviat. Space Environ. Med. 69: 374-386, 1998.
  • Greenleaf, J.E., R. Looft-Wilson, J.L. Wisherd, M.A. McKenzie, C.D. Jensen, and J.H. Whittam. Pre-exercise hypervolemia and cycle ergometer endurance in men. Biol. Sport 14: 103-114, 1997.
  • Greenleaf, J.E., D.P. Gundo, D.E. Watenpaugh, G.M. Mulenburg, N. Marchman, R. Looft-Wilson, and A.R. Hargens. Cycle-powered short radius (1.9M) centrifuge: exercise vs. passive acceleration. J. Gravit. Physiol. 3: 61-62, 1996.
  • Greenleaf, J.E., T. Hutchinson, M. Schaffer-Bailey, and R. Looft-Wilson. Exercise thermoregulation after 6 h of chair rest, 6-degree head-down bed-rest, and water immersion deconditioning in men. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 72: 303-309, 1996.
External Fellowships and Grants
  • 2021-2024, AREA Grant, National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, Role: P.I., “Mechanisms of arterial myoendothelial feedback: regulation of eNOS and role of connexins”, $256,588

  • Commonwealth Health Research Board (2012-2013): Co-investigator (P.I. Alireza Hosseini, Eastern Virginia Medical School), “Role of Nitric Oxide and Cytokines in the Development of Retinopathy of Prematurity“, $133,000

  • NIH-AREA Grant, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2010-2014): Regulation of eNOS by shear stress in intact arteries, $207,369
  • American Heart Association, Beginning Grant-in-Aid (2007-2009):  Regulation of eNOS in Hyperhomocysteinemia, $132,000 
  • NIH-AREA Grant, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (2006-2010):  Vascular Cell-to-Cell Communication during Remodeling, $210,200 
  • Jeffress Memorial Trust Foundation Grant (2005-2006):  Vascular Cell-to-Cell Communication in Hyperhomocysteinemia, $40,000
  • Retention, Promotion, and Tenure Committee (2021-2024; co-chair 2023-2024)
  • Neuroscience Program Director (2015-2020)
  • Chair, Committee on faculty Awards, Professorships, and Prizes (2015-2016)
  • Committee on Faculty Awards, Professorships, and Prizes (2014-2015)
  • Chair Thomas Jefferson Prize in Natural Philosophy Selection Committee (2013)
  • Chair, Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (2012-2015)
  • Associate Director Neuroscience (2012-2015)
  • Advisory board member, summer grant reviewer, and external mentor. STRIDE Grant awarded to the American Physiological Society [provides fellowships and mentoring for underrepresented undergraduate students] (2012-2020)
  • Advisory board member, summer grant reviewer, and external mentor. NIH STEP-UP Grant awarded to the American Physiological Society [provides fellowships and mentoring for underrepresented undergraduate students] (2012-2017)
  • Grant Reviewer for National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, Vascular and Hematology Special Emphasis Panel (2011-2012, 2015)
  • Institutional Biosafety Committee (2009-2015)
  • Grant reviewer for the American Heart Association, Blood Pressure and Vascular Biology Study Section (2008-2010)
  • Faculty Research Committee (2009, 2020, 2020-2023)
  • Grant reviewer for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (2007)
  • Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (2006-2011)
  • Education Committee, American Physiological Society (2005-2008)
Honors, Prizes, and Awards
  • Plumeri Award for Faculty Excellence at William & Mary​ (2014-16)
  • Research Career Enhancement Award, American Physiological Society (2011)
  • Dean's Distinguished Lecturer (2011-2012)
  • Coco Faculty Fellow (2011-2012)
  • William & Mary Alumni Fellowship Award for excellence in teaching (2009)
  • Gatorade Young Investigator Award, American Physiological Society (1999)