Breathing is the melody of life. If a pulsing heart is the drum beat that regulates life, then breathing is the symphony that plays in time with it, establishing a person’s individualized rhythm. Symbolism aside, the allure of respiration lies in its biology, which is the key focus of Dr. Neubauer’s interest. She studies how hypoxia, or low levels of oxygen in the body, can affect respiration.
SIDS is the unexplained death, usually during sleep, of a seemingly healthy baby less than a year old. Diagnosed by a process of elimination, often after an autopsy, SIDS shows no apparent pattern between victims. Dr. Neubauer has dedicated the better part of her professional life to researching the neurobiology of respiratory control, particularly as it relates to SIDS. Her team has focused on the ability of the rat nervous system to regulate hypoxia, or the lack of oxygen in body tissues, which is one possible cause of SIDS.