Steven S. Segal, PhD

Steven S. Segal, PhD

Medical Pharmacology and Physiology

Curators Distinguished Professor
Chancellor's Professor of Research Excellence
Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research



Research in the Segal laboratory centers on understanding blood flow regulation as exemplified by skeletal muscle in response to exercise. Contraction of muscle fibers generates electrical and chemical signals in microvascular endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells. Gap junctions enable these signals to spread from cell to cell both axially (via the endothelium) and radially (between endothelial cells and smooth muscle cells) along vessel branches. Intercellular communication thereby coordinates vasodilation and vasoconstriction along vascular resistance networks according to local (muscle fiber) needs for oxygen and nutrients carried in the bloodstream. Thus, as metabolic demand increases, signals initiated within the smallest microvessels (capillaries and terminal arterioles) spread upstream ("ascend") to encompass intermediate arterioles that control the regional distribution of blood flow together with feed arteries governing total flow into the microcirculation. In such manner, ascending vasodilation is also manifest in vascular beds of other tissues subject to metabolic demand, as shown for the heart and brain. Our studies center on elucidating the nature of signaling between skeletal muscle fibers and microvessels as well as between microvascular endothelium and smooth muscle cells in light of how these interactions are modulated by autonomic, sensory and somatic innervation. Experiments involve imaging and manipulating the intact microcirculation, isolated microvessels and their constitutive cell layers in light of functional gene expression. Electrophysiology and calcium imaging provide mechanistic insight into the dynamic nature of cell-type specific as well as heterocellular (myoendothelial, neuromuscular, neurovascular) signals that govern vasomotor control. Experimental data are complemented by computational modeling of the biophysical properties that enable such signaling to occur. Fluorescence imaging enables 4-dimensional mapping and analyses of microvascular architecture to underscore our studies of vasomotor control, network remodeling and regeneration following skeletal muscle injury. Physiological, pharmacological and genetic manipulations provide critical insights into determinants of microvascular structure and function in light of crosstalk with muscle fibers and peripheral nerves. Our goal is to gain definitive new insight into mechanisms of blood flow regulation and apply this knowledge towards combating the deleterious effects of aging, injury and disease on the ability to engage in physical activity and enjoy life.

Academic Information

Curators Distinguished Professor
Chancellor's Professor of Research Excellence
Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professor in Medical Research


1 Hospital Drive
Columbia, MO 65212
United States

P. 573-882-2553

Research Interests

  • Mechanisms of blood flow regulation
  • Cell-to-cell signaling in the vascular wall
  • Skeletal muscle injury and regeneration
  • Microcirculation during aging
  • Cardiovascular regulation

Areas of Expertise

  • Cardiovascular physiology
  • Exercise physiology
  • Microcirculation
  • Skeletal muscle

Education & Training


1987, Microcirculation, University of Virginia

Post-Graduate School

1984, PhD (Education/Kinesiology and Physiology), University of Michigan; 1978, MA (Exercise Physiology), University of California Berkeley

Awards & Honors

  • Fellow, American College of Sports Medicine (1989)
  • Fellow, Cardiovascular Section, American Physiological Society (1996)
  • Established Investigator Award, American Heart Association (1998)
  • Fellow, Council on Basic Cardiovascular Sciences, AHA (2001)
  • President, the Microcirculatory Society, Inc. USA (2008-09)
  • Margaret Proctor Mulligan Professorship in Medical Research, MU (2008)
  • Method to Extend Research in Time (MERIT) Award, NHLBI, NIH (2008)
  • Malpighi Award, European Society for Microcirculation (2013)
  • Chancellor’s Professor of Research Excellence, University of Missouri (2013)
  • Excellence in Trainee Research Mentoring Award, MU School of Medicine (2015)
  • Eugene M. Landis Award, the Microcirculatory Society, Inc. (2016)
  • Curators' Distinguished Professor (2017)

Professional Societies

  • American Physiological Society (1985 - present)
  • The Microcirculatory Society, Inc. USA (1985 - present)
  • European Society for Microcirculation (1990 - present)


  • Fernando CA, Pangan AM, Cornelison DDW, Segal SS. Recovery of blood flow regulation in microvascular resistance networks during regeneration of mouse gluteus maximus muscle. J Physiol 597.5: 1401-1407, 2019 DOI: 10.1113/JP277247  PMID: 30575953
  • Socha MJ and Segal SS. microvascular mechanisms limiting skeletal muscle blood flow with advancing age. J Appl Physiol 125: 1851-1839, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00113.2018
  • Norton CE and Segal SS. Calcitonin gene-related peptide hyperpolarizes mouse pulmonary artery endothelial tubes through KATP channel activation. Am J Physiol: Lung Cell Molec Physiol 315: L212-L226, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/ajplung.00044.2018  PMC6139654
  • Boerman EM, Sen S, Shaw RL, Joshi T and Segal SS. Gene expression profiles of ion channels and receptors in mouse resistance arteries:  effects of cell type, vascular bed and age. Microcirculation 2018;e12452.  DOI: 10.1111/micc.12452   PMC5949082
  • Behringer EJ, Scallan JP, Jafarnejad M, Castorena Gonzalez JA, Moore Jr. JE, Davis MJ and Segal SS. Calcium and electrical dynamics in lymphatic endothelium. J Physiol 595.24: 7347-7368, 2017. DOI:  10.1113/JP274842  PMC5730853
  • Sinkler SY and Segal SS. Rapid versus slow ascending vasodilatation: Intercellular conduction versus flow-mediated signalling with tetanic versus rhythmic muscle contractions. J Physiol 595.23: 7149-7165, 2017.  DOI: 10.1113/JP275186  PMC5709335
  • Boerman EM, Everhart JE and Segal SS. Advanced age decreases local calcium signaling in endothelium of mouse mesenteric arteries in vivo. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 310: H1091-H1096, 2016. PMC4867392
  • Boerman EM and Segal SS. Depressed perivascular sensory innervation of mouse mesenteric arteries with advanced age. J Physiol 594.8:2323-2338, 2016. PMC4933107
  • Behringer EJ and Segal SS. Membrane potential governs calcium influx into microvascular endothelium: Integral role for muscarinic receptor activation. J Physiol 293.20: 4531-4548, 2015. PMC26260126
  • Socha MJ, Boerman EM, Behringer EJ, Shaw RL, Domeier TL and Segal SS. Advanced age protects microvascular endothelium from aberrant Ca2+ influx and cell death induced by hydrogen peroxide. J Physiol 593.9: 2155–2169, 2015. PMC4422569
  • Domeier TL, Roberts CR, Gibson AK, Hanft LM, McDonald KS and Segal SS. Dantrolene suppresses spontaneous Ca2+ release without altering excitation-contraction coupling in cardiomyocytes of aged mice. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 307: H818-H829, 2014. PMC4166750
  • Sinkler SY and Segal SS. Aging alters reactivity of microvascular resistance networks in mouse gluteus maximus muscle. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 307: H830-H839, 2014. PMC4166744
  • Westcott EB and Segal SS. Ageing alters perivascular nerve function of mouse mesenteric arteries in vivo.  J Physiol 591.5:1251-1263, 2013. PMC3607869
  • Behringer EJ, Shaw RL, Socha MJ, W and Segal SS. Aging impairs electrical conduction along endothelium of resistance arteries through enhanced Ca2+-activated K+ channel activation. Arterio Thromb Vasc Biol  33:1892-1901, 2013. PMC3769416
  • Behringer EJ and Segal SS. Tuning electrical conduction along endothelium of resistance arteries through Ca2+-activated K+ channels. Circ Res 110:1311-1321, 2012. PMC3467972
  • Correa D and Segal SS. Neurovascular proximity in the diaphragm muscle of adult mice. Microcirculation 19: 306–315, 2012. PMC3336045