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 Vice Chair of Education in the Department of Neurological Sciences where I oversee the many educational endeavors to diverse learners (undergraduate, graduate, and medical students and residents).  I am also the course director and a lecturer in ANNB302, Human Neuroscience, a graduate level course for doctoral students in the Rehabilitation and Movement Science Department.

Academic Appointments

2012-Present: Professor, Department of Neurological Sciences, University of Vermont College of Medicine, Burlington, VT
2005-2012: Professor, Department of Neurology, 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: 2012-13 University Scholar, University of Vermont
2003, 2004, 2009: 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

2014-Present: Vice Chair for Education, 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: 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
2008-Present: Editorial Board, American Journal of Physiology, Renal Physiology and Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology
2008-Present: Chair, UVM IACUC Policy and Procedures Subcommittee

Research Grants

2013-2018: 5R01 DK051369-18 NIH/NIDDK. Cystitis-induced plasticity of micturition reflexes. Role: PI
2015-2019: 5R01 DK060481-10 NIH/NIDDK. Developmental Plasticity of Micturition Reflex Pathways. Role: PI
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


Vizzard MA. Pannexins: the 'nexus' between urothelium ATP production and extracellular release. J Physiol. 2015 Apr 15;593(8):1759-60.

Missig G, Roman CW, Vizzard MA, Braas KM, Hammack SE, May V. Parabrachial nucleus (PBn) pituitary adenylate cyclase activating polypeptide (PACAP) signaling in the amygdala: implication for the sensory and behavioral effects of pain. Neuropharmacology. 2014 Nov;86:38-48.

Dugan C, Malley S, Arms L, May V, Vizzard MA. Role of c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation in micturition reflexes in cyclophosphamide (CYP)-induced cystitis in female rats. J Mol Neurosci. 2014 Nov;54(3):360-9.

Zvarova K, Herrera GM, May V, Vizzard MA. Cocaine- and amphetamine-regulated transcript peptide (CARTp): distribution and function in rat urinary bladder. J Mol Neurosci. 2014 Nov;54(3):351-9.

Mingin GC, Peterson A, Erickson CS, Nelson MT, Vizzard MA. Social stress induces changes in urinary bladder function, bladder NGF content, and generalized bladder inflammation in mice.
Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Oct 1;307(7):R893-900.

Vizzard MA. New modulatory pathways in micturition reflex function. J Urol. 2014 Sep;192(3):638-9.

Merrill L, Vizzard MA. Intravesical TRPV4 blockade reduces repeated variate stress-induced bladder dysfunction by increasing bladder capacity and decreasing voiding frequency in male rats. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Aug 15;307(4):R471-80.

Gonzalez EJ, Merrill L, Vizzard MA. Bladder sensory physiology: neuroactive compounds and receptors, sensory transducers, and target-derived growth factors as targets to improve function. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2014 Jun 15;306(12):R869-78.

Gonzalez EJ, Heppner TJ, Nelson MT, Vizzard MA. Purinergic signalling underlies transforming growth factor-beta mediated bladder afferent nerve hyperexcitability. J Physiol. 2016, in press.

Merrill L, Gonzalez EJ, Girard BM, Vizzard MA. Receptors, channels, and signalling in the urothelial sensory system in the bladder. Nat Rev Urol. 2016 Apr;13(4):193-204.

Mingin GC, Heppner TJ, Tykocki NR, Erickson CS Vizzard MA, Nelson MT. Social stress in mice induces urinary bladder overactivity and increases TRPV1 channel-dependent afferent nerve activity. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2015 Sept 15;305(6):R629-38.