Robert Fitzgerald
fitzgerald

Robert Fitzgerald

At the outset it is in my view critical to say that I have been educated considerably beyond my talents.  Yet I’m finding my ignorance in many areas to be profound and extensive.  My first academic degree is a Litt.B. from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio where I had a double major in classical languages and English.  The eight years of Latin and six of Greek (counting high school studies of the languages) enabled me to read significant parts of Homer’s Iliad and Odyssey in Greek, Euripides’Medea, Plato’s Apology, Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Horace’s Odes, Virgil’s Aneid.  I do value those experiences.  I also have an M.A. in philosophy where my thesis explored the philosophy of science of Alfred North Whitehead. I hold both Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Roman Catholic theology.  My professional Ph.D. in physiology was awarded by the University of Chicago where the late Dr. John Forbes Perkins was my advisor. I believe I was John’s last graduate student. Part of my training I gained as a Jesuit seminarian and briefly as a Jesuit priest. My post-doctoral training began at Johns Hopkins part-time since I was a full-time theology student at the time. The late Dr. Richard Riley headed the Department of Environmental Medicine where I worked. And the late Dr. Solbert Permutt was a moving force in the Department at that time. In 1967-68 I spent time in the laboratories of Dr. Pierre Bouverot at the University of Nancy and of Dr. Pierre Dejours at Hopital Marie Lanelongue in Paris. I returned to a full-time faculty position at Hopkins and have been here ever since except for a year I spent in the laboratory of Dr. Robert Mitchell at the Cardiovascular Research Institute at UCSF in San Francisco.

My research interests have always been in cardiopulmonary control, and most of my experimental work in dogs and cats has been measuring the ventilatory and cardiovascular responses to carotid body (and aortic body) stimulation.  I have also explored how this tiny structure discharges in response to such stimuli as hypoxia, carbon dioxide, low glucose, focusing on neurotransmitters in the structure and the location of the receptors for the transmitters.  In the early 1980s I did a fairly large amount of work at the other end of the respiratory control system, the diaphragm.  I did this work, both here at Hopkins, but also at the Meakins-Christie Laboratories of McGill University in Montreal with Dr. Charis Roussos and Dr. Sandra Howell.

Currently I spend most of my time teaching two seminars: “Mechanisms Involved in Cardiopulmonary Control” and “The Cardiopulmonary System Under Stress”.  And I do write review articles from time to time.


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