University of Vermont

College of Medicine

Department of Neurological Sciences

Bio for Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D.
Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D.

Margaret Vizzard, Ph.D.

Department of Neurological Sciences

Contact Information
Office Location:
Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont, College of Medicine, 89 Beaumont Ave., Given D415A, Burlington, VT




1992-1995:  Postdoctoral Fellow, Department of Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 
1988-1992:  Ph.D., Physiology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 
1984-1988:  B.A., Biology, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA

Academic Interests

I am the course director and a lecturer in ANNB302, Human Neuroscience, a graduate level course for doctoral students (as well as other qualified students) in the Rehabilitation and Movement Science Department.

Academic Appointments

2005-2012:  Full Professor, Department of Neurology, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT 
2012-Present: Full Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT

Research Interests

The Vizzard laboratory research interests concern the neural control, organization, electrical and neurochemical properties of urinary bladder and how these properties are altered following neural injury, disease or during early postnatal development. Current rodent models of bladder dysfunction include: spinal cord injury, peripheral nerve injury, acute and chronic bladder inflammation, bladder pain syndrome, Parkinson’s disease and partial bladder outlet obstruction. The Vizzard laboratory defines the changes that occur with injury/disease or postnatal maturation and then determines what factors control and regulate these plastic changes. We aim to define interventional strategies that improve bladder function in the face of neural injury or disease. Within the Vizzard lab, we emphasize the contribution of neuropeptides and growth factors to voiding dysfunction as well as an emerging interest in the role of TRP channels.

The Vizzard laboratory uses a multidisciplinary approach to address the above questions. Some of these techniques and approaches include: conventional and transneuronal tracing using neurotropic viruses (eg., pseudorabies virus and herpes simplex virus-type to map bladder reflex circuitry in health and disease; immunostaining for neuroactive compounds to determine if the balance of neuroactive compounds is altered to push the system into an overactive or underactive mode of operation; biochemical and molecular approaches to determine what factors may be altered centrally (spinal cord) or peripherally (dorsal root ganglia, pelvic ganglia, urinary bladder); whole-cell patch clamp recording and intracellular recording from dorsal root ganglion or pelvic ganglion cells to determine if cells are more or less excitable in health or disease; whole animal bladder function testing to evaluate the effects of interventional strategies on bladder function in health and disease; in vitro analysis of urinary bladder strips to assess spontaneous and stimulation evoked changes in contractility.

Awards and Honors

2012:  Named 2012-13 University Scholar, University of Vermont
2009:  UVM Model Laboratory Award
2004:  UVM Model Laboratory Award
2003:  UVM Model Laboratory Award
2000:  Young Investigator Award, Society for Basic Urologic Research/Merck
1997:  College of Medicine Faculty Development Award, University of Vermont College of Medicine
1993-1995:  National Research Service Award, Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
1992-1993:  NIMH Training Grant, Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Pittsburgh
1991:  Sigma Xi Student Research Prize, Thomas Jefferson University
1989-1992:  National Research Service Award, Predoctoral Fellowship, Thomas Jefferson University
1988-1989:  Foerderer Fellowship, Thomas Jefferson University
1988:  Graduated Summa Cum Laude from Temple University
1984-1988:  Full Academic Scholarship, Temple University

Professional Activities

2011-present: Faculty Search Committee, UVm Rehabilitation and Movement Sciences Department
2011-present: Chair Search Committee, Member, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Department of Neurological Sciences
2010-present: Associate Editor, Frontiers in Autonomic Neuroscience
2010-present: Grant Reviewer, Department of Defense
2010-present: Review Editor, Review Editorial Board of Frontiers in Pharmacotherapy of Urogenital Disorders
2010-present: Faculty Panel Member, Provost Search, University of Vermont, Fall 2010
2010-present: Faculty Practice Research and Education Nominating Committee/FAHC Review Member
2010-present: Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology: Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative
2010-present: UVM Faculty Mentoring Program, Faculty Mentor
2009-present: Ad Hoc Grant Reviewer, NIDDK UKGD Study Section
2009-present: Faculty Mentor, Women's Reproductive Health Research (WRH) (K12) Program in Dept. of Ob/Gyn at UVM COM
2008-present: Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology, Renal Physiology and Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
2008-present: Vice Chair, UVM IACUC
2008-present: UVM COM Policy and Procedures Subcommittee of IACUC, Chair
2005-present: North American Representative, International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience (ISAN)
2003-present:  Physician Scientist (Neuroscientist) Search Committee, UVM COM
2003-present:  Faculty Mentor, Faculty Mentoring Program, University of Vermont
2003-present:  Chair, IACUC University of Vermont College of Medicine
2005-present:  North American Representative, International Society for Autonomic Neuroscience (ISAN)
1998-present: UVM Women in Science Mentoring Program

Research Grants

2008-2013: R01 DK051369-11  NIH/NIDDK. Cystitis-induced plasticity of micturition reflexes. Role: PI
2009-2013: R01 DK060481-05  NIH/NIDDK. Developmental Plasticity of Micturition Reflex Pathways. Role: PI
2008-present: BioXell SpA, Milan, Italy. Evaluation of MNAC13 treatment efficacy in NGF overexpressing mice with bladder overactivity. Role: PI
2009-present: K01DK081444  NIH/NIDDK. Autonomic control of urinary function in diabetic mice. PI: Tompkins, J. Role: Co-mentor
2010-2012: 1 F31 AT005559-01  NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Inflammation model of body-based treatment for chronic musculoskeletal pain. PI: Corey, S. Role: Co-mentor
2010-2015: RO1AT 004400  NIH/National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Connective tissue and nervous system mechanisms of CAM therapies for low back pain. PI: Langevin, H. Role: Co-investigator
2011-2015: 7KO8DK082759  NIH/NIDDK. Transcriptional mechanisms of lower urinary tract development. PI: Mingin, G. Role: Co-mentor


Hamill RW, Tompkins JD, Girard BM, Kershen RT, Parsons RL, Vizzard MA. Autonomic dysfunction and plasticity in micturition reflexes in human a-synuclein mice. Dev Neurobiol. 2011 Sep 13.

Arms L, Vizzard MA. Role for pAKT in rat urinary bladder with cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced cystitis. Am J Physiol Aug;301(2):F252-62, 2011.

Girard BM, Cheppudira BP, Malley SE, Schutz KC, May V, Vizzard MA. Increased expression of interleukin-6 family members and receptors in urinary bladder with cyclophosphamide-induced bladder inflammation in female rats. Front Neurosci Feb 22;5:20, 2011.

Schnegelsberg B, Sun TT, Cain G, Chattacharya A, Nunn PA, Ford AP, Vizzard MA, Cockayne DA. Overexpression of NGF in mouse urothelium leads to neuronal hyperinnervation, pelvic sensitivity, and changes in urinary bladder function. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol Mar;298(3):R534-47, 2010.

Arms L, Vizzard MA. Neuropeptides in lower urinary tract function. Handb Exp Pharmacol (202):395-423, Review, 2011.

To view more of Dr. Vizzard's publications, please visit PubMed.