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

  • de Loureiro TMG, Brodeur K, Schade G, Brito FAC, Salomao RC, Miquilini L, Bonci DMO, Baran LCP, Hauzman E, Goulart PRK, Cortes MIT, Ventura DF, Fitzgerald MEC, Souza GS. Effect of the Decrease in Luminance Noise Range on Color Discrimination of Dichromats and Trichromats. Front Behav Neurosci. 2018 Nov 23;12:292. doi: 10.3389/fnbeh.2018.00292. eCollection 2018. PubMed PMID: 30532699; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6265314.
  • Li C, Fitzgerald MEC, Del Mar N, Haughey C, Reiner A. Defective Choroidal Blood Flow Baroregulation and Retinal Dysfunction and Pathology Following Sympathetic Denervation of Choroid. Invest Ophthalmol Vis Sci. 2018 Oct 1;59(12):5032-5044. doi: 10.1167/iovs.18-24954. PubMed PMID: 30326072; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC6190756.
  • Reiner A, Fitzgerald MEC, Del Mar N, Li C. Neural control of choroidal blood flow. Prog Retin Eye Res. 2018 May;64:96-130. doi: 10.1016/j.preteyeres.2017.12.001. Epub 2017 Dec 8. Review. PubMed PMID: 29229444; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5971129.
  • Miquilini L, Walker NA, Odigie EA, Guimarães DL, Salomão RC, Lacerda EMCB, Cortes MIT, de Lima Silveira LC, Fitzgerald MEC, Ventura DF, Souza GS. Influence of Spatial and Chromatic Noise on Luminance Discrimination. Sci Rep. 2017 Dec 5;7(1):16944. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-16817-0. PubMed PMID: 29208981; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5717058.
  • Li C, Fitzgerald ME, Del Mar N, Reiner A. Stimulation of Baroresponsive Parts of the Nucleus of the Solitary Tract Produces Nitric Oxide-mediated Choroidal Vasodilation in Rat Eye. Front Neuroanat. 2016 Oct 7;10:94. eCollection 2016. PubMed PMID: 27774055; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5053990.
  • Li C, Fitzgerald ME, Del Mar N, Reiner A. Disinhibition of neurons of the nucleus of solitary tract that project to the superior salivatory nucleus causes choroidal vasodilation: Implications for mechanisms underlying choroidal baroregulation. Neurosci Lett. 2016 Oct 28;633:106-111. doi: 10.1016/j.neulet.2016.09.029. Epub 2016 Sep 20. PubMed PMID: 27663135; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC5117681.

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