Dr. Heppner received his B.A. from Gustavus Adolphus College, St. Peter, Minnesota, and in 1986 received his Ph.D. in Toxicology and Neurobiology from Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa. His postdoctoral work was in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology at the University of Vermont and joined the faculty in the Department of Pharmacology in 1993 as a Research Associate.
Dr. Heppner’s research is focused on the role played by ion channels in modulating the activity of smooth muscle from the urinary bladder and coronary arteries. These studies are concerned primarily with potassium and calcium ion channels and examine: 1) how these channels are regulated, and 2) the role played by these channels in controlling membrane excitability. A wide variety of electrophysiological techniques and calcium imaging techniques are used to measure ion channel activity in cell cultures, acutely dissociated cells and in intact tissue preparations. In addition, Dr. Heppner is interested in mechanisms underlying the potentiation of synaptic transmission in the autonomic nervous system.
For a complete list of Thomas J. Heppner's publications, please visit PubMed.2014 Krishnamoorthy G, Sonkusare SK, Heppner TJ, Nelson MT. Opposing roles of smooth muscles BK channels and ryanodine receptors in the regulation of nerve-evoked constriction of mesenteric resistance arteries. Am J Physiology Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Feb 7. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00866.2013. PMID: 24508642, PMCID: PMC3962638
2012 Sonkusare SK, Bonev AD, Ledoux J, Liedtke W, Kotlikoff MI, Heppner TJ, Hill-Eubanks DC, Nelson MT. Elementary Ca2+ signals through endothelial TRPV4 channels regulate vascular function. Science. 2012 May 4;336(6081): 597-601. doi: 10.1126/science.1216283. HIHMS486070. PMID: 22556255, PMCID: PMC3715993. Editor's Choice (L.B. Ray, Blood Pressure Gauge. Sci. Signal. 5, ec131), featured in a Perspective in the same issue and a Podcast: http://podcasts.aaas.org/science_signaling/ScienceSignaling_120508.mp3.
2012 Nausch LW, Boneve AD, Heppner TJ, Tallini Y, Kotlikoff MI, Nelson MT. Sympathetic nerve stimulation induces local endothelial Ca2+ signals to oppose vasoconstriction of mouse mesenteric arteries. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Feb 1; 302(3): H594-602. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00773.2011. PMID: 22140050, PMCID: PMC3353782. Featured in a Podcast: http://ajpheart.podbean.com/2012/03/14/nerve-induced-ec-ca2-signals-oppose-vasoconsriction/ 2011 Hill-Eubanks DC, Werner ME, Heppner TJ, Nelson MT. Calcium signaling in smooth muscle. Cold Spring Harb Perspect Biol. 2011 Sep 1; 3(9): a00459. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a004549. PMCID: 21709182, PMCID: PMC3181028
2011 Heppner TJ, Layne JJ, Pearson JM, Sarkissian H, Nelson MT. Unique properties of muscularis mucosae smooth muscle in guinea pig urinary bladder. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2011 Aug; 301(2): R351-362. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00656.2010. PMID: 21632849, PMCID: PMC3154705
2010 Zarva P, Wright AJ, Roach K, Ursiny M, Shapiro B, Dagrosa LM, Nelson MT, Heppner TJ. A non-anesthetized mouse model for recording sensory urinary bladder activity. Front Neurol. 2010 Nov 2: 1:127. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2010.00127.eCollection 2010. PMID: 21188259, PMCID: PMC3008862
2010 Nausch B, Heppner TJ, Nelson MT. Nerve-released acetylcholine contracts urinary bladder smooth muscle by inducing action potentials independently of IP3-mediated calcium release. Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2010 Sep: 299(3): R878-888. doi: 10.1152/ajpregu.00180.2010. PMID: 20573989, PMCID: PMC2944423
2009 Heppner TJ, Werner ME, Nausch B, Vial C, Evans RJ, Nelson MT. Nerve-evoked purinergic signaling suppresses action potentials, Ca2+ flashes and contractility evoked by muscarinic receptor activation in mouse urinary bladder smooth muscle. J Physiol. 2009 Nov 1: 587(Pt21): 5275-5288. doi: 10.1113/jphyiol.2009.178806. PMID: 1973601, PMCID: PMC2790264
2007 Mandala M, Heppner TJ, Bonev AD, Nelson MT. Effect of endogenous and exogenous nitric oxide on calcium sparks as targets for vasodilation in rat cerebral artery. Nitric Oxide. 2007 Feb; 16(1): 104-109. PMID: 16899379
2006 Balemba OB, Heppner TJ, Bonev AD, Nelson MT, Mawe GM. Calcium waves intact guinea pig gallbladder smooth muscle cells. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Oct; 291(4): G717-727. PMID: 16710055
2006 Balemba OB, Salter MJ, Heppner TJ, Bonev AD, Nelson MT, Mawe GM. Spontaneous electrical rhythmicity and the role of sarcoplasmic reticulum in the excitability of guinea pig gall bladder smooth muscle cells. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol. 2006 Apr; 290(4): G655-664. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.000310.2005. PMID: 16293655
2006 Wilkerson MK, Heppner TJ, Bonev AD, Nelson MT. Inositol trisphosphate receptor calcium release is required for cerebral artery smooth muscle cell proliferation. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2006 Jan; 290(1): H240-247. PMID: 16113072
2005 Earley S, Heppner TJ, Nelson MT, Brayden JE. TRPV4 forms a novel Ca2+ signaling complex with ryanodine receptors and the BKCa channels. Cir Res. 2005 Dec 9; 97(12): 1270-1279. PMID: 16269659