Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald, Ph.D.

Department of Biology
Christian Brothers University

Adjunct Professor
Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology

Christian Brothers University
650 E. Parkway S.
Memphis, TN 38104
Phone: (901) 321-3262
Fax: (901) 321-4433
Email: Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald


  • Ph.D. Institution: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Postdoctoral: The University of Tennessee Health Science Center


Minority Health and Health Disparities International Research Training (MHIRT) Program

Christian Brothers University - Malinda E.C. Fitzgerald

Research Interests

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and diabetes are two ocular diseases that are responsible for most of the new blindness that occurs in the United States. In both diseases, new vessel growth and decreased blood flow occur in the eye. My research involves investigating the nature, basis and consequences of vascular abnormalities in the eye during these, and related, diseases. There are two vascular beds in most mammalian eyes that provide the blood supply to the retina. The inner retinal vessels, which originate from the central retinal artery, and the outer vascular bed termed the choroid, which originates from the ciliary arteries. One focus of my research has been to investigate the cell biological basis of retinal vascular endothelial cell proliferation, particularly the mechanisms controlling cell growth and migration within the eye. While the precise location of the new vessel growth is different in diabetes and AMD, they have a common result, ocular pathology. Parallel to this research, I have studied the role of the choroidal vasculature in retinal health. The choroid is the major vascular supply of the retina, yet little is known about the possible role that impairments in choroidal blood flow (ChBF) or its regulation may play in retinal disease. Decreases in ChBF may contribute to the etiology or progression of diseases such as, myopia, AMD, or glaucoma. Since decreased ChBF and vascular proliferation affect the health of the retina, research on the mechanisms controlling these vascular functions will provide information on the role of the normal vascular function in supporting retinal health and the role of defective vascular function in contributing to retinal disease.

I use an avian model (pigeons) and a variety of techniques in my research, electron microscopy, electrophysiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, cell and molecular biology in order to investigate the effects of vascular disease on the health of the retina.

Representative Publications

  • Li C, Fitzgerald ME, Del Mar N, Cuthbertson-Coates S, LeDoux MS, Gong S, Ryan JP, Reiner A. The identification and neurochemical characterization of central neurons that target parasympathetic preganglionic neurons involved in the regulation of choroidal blood flow in the rat eye using pseudorabies virus, immunolabeling and conventional pathway tracing methods. Front Neuroanat. 2015 Jun 2;9:65. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2015.00065. eCollection 2015. PubMed PMID: 26082687; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4451581.
  • Souza GS, Malone FL, Crawford TL, Miquilini L, Salomão RC, Guimarães DL, Ventura DF, Fitzgerald ME, Silveira LC. Low number of luminance levels in the luminance noise increases color discrimination thresholds estimated with pseudoisochromatic stimuli. Front Psychol. 2014 Dec 23;5:1291. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01291. eCollection 2014. PubMed PMID: 25566106; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC4274881.
  • Joglekar MV, Ware J, Xu J, Fitzgerald ME, Gartner TK. Platelets, glycoprotein Ib-IX, and von Willebrand factor are required for FeCl(3)-induced occlusive thrombus formation in the inferior vena cava of mice. Platelets. 2013;24(3):205-12. doi: 10.3109/09537104.2012.696746. Epub 2012 Jun 21. PubMed PMID: 22720736; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3813966.
  • Reiner A, Del Mar N, Zagvazdin Y, Li C, Fitzgerald ME. Age-related impairment in choroidal blood flow compensation for arterial blood pressure fluctuation in pigeons. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2011 Sep 14;52(10):7238-47. doi: 10.1167/iovs.10-6464. PubMed PMID: 21828151; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3207724.
  • Li C, Fitzgerald ME, Ledoux MS, Gong S, Ryan P, Del Mar N, Reiner A. Projections from the hypothalamic paraventricular nucleus and the nucleus of the solitary tract to prechoroidal neurons in the superior salivatory nucleus: Pathways controlling rodent choroidal blood flow. Brain Res. 2010 Oct 28;1358:123-39. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.08.065. Epub 2010 Aug 27. PubMed PMID: 20801105; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC2949519.
  • Reiner A, Li C, Del Mar N, Fitzgerald ME. Choroidal blood flow compensation in rats for arterial blood pressure decreases is neuronal nitric oxide-dependent but compensation for arterial blood pressure increases is not. Exp Eye Res. 2010 Jun;90(6):734-41. doi: 10.1016/j.exer.2010.03.006. Epub 2010 Mar 17. PubMed PMID: 20302861; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3376639.

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