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Dr Emma Hart

Dr Emma Hart

Dr Emma Hart
BSc(Liv.J.Moores), PhD(Brun.)


Area of research

The autonomic control of the cardiovascular system in humans

Office G28
Biomedical Sciences Building,
University Walk, Bristol BS8 1TD
(See a map)

+44 (0) 117 3311472


Dr. Hart and her team study how the autonomic nervous system regulates blood pressure, heart rate, breathing and metabolism in health and disease. Their main aim is to understand what mechanisms lead to autonomic dysfunction and cardiovascular disease, specifically in hypertension and heart failure. Dr. Hart's team use integrative physiology approaches to understand disease in humans. Two main research areas that are on-going in Dr. Hart's lab surround the role of brain in developing hypertension and how the reproductive hormones affect cardiovascular control and the development of hypertension. Dr. Hart's human research laboratory is situated in the Clinical Research and Imaging Centre-Bristol, which specialises in measuring sympathetic nerve activity directly from peripheral nerves in the body using a technique called microneurography. Other methodologies that the laboratory/group specialise in are measures of baroreflex and chemoreflex sensitivity, respiratory function, the exercise pressor reflex, arterial stiffness, cardiac and vascular function (using ultrasound and magnetic resonance imaging) and finally, exercise capacity. 


Emma Hart studied Exercise Physiology as an Undergraduate at Liverpool John Moores University, which inspired her to complete a PhD in human Cardiovascular Physiology at Brunel University. In 2008, Emma received an American Heart Association Postdoctoral Fellowship to study sex differences in the sympathetic regulation of blood pressure at the Mayo Clinic (USA) with Dr’s Michael Joyner and Nisha Charkoudian.

In 2011, Emma was awarded an Intermediate Basic Science Research Fellowship from the British Heart Foundation, to begin setting up her own research lab at the University of Bristol. Emma’s research group focuses on cerebral mechanisms that trigger the onset of hypertension in humans and the role of sex steroid hormones in protecting against (or triggering) high blood pressure in men and women. 


  • Cardiovascular physiology to Veterniary, Medical and Physiological Sciences students
  • Cardiovascular physiology practical laboratories
  • Cardiovascular physiology unit director for MSc Biomedical Sciences Research 


  • autonomic nervous system
  • blood pressure
  • sympathetic activity
  • baroreceptor
  • chemoreceptor
  • cerebral blood flow
  • cardiovascular
  • exercise
  • reproductive health
  • inflammation


  • Hypertension
  • heart failure

Processes and functions

  • Autonomic regulation
  • homeostatic reflexes
  • brainInflammatory


  • microneurography
  • MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
  • ultrasound imaging
  • spirometry

Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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