Cristine Heaps portrait

Cristine Heaps


Phone: (979) 458-0753
Email: [email protected]

Research and Scholarly Interests

The primary research in my laboratory is focused on adaptations in the coronary circulation in response to disease and exercise training. Specifically, we study changes in cellular and molecular mechanisms of endothelium and smooth muscle that contribute both dilation and constriction of the vasculature and control blood flow into the myocardium. We also collaborate with other investigators to explore adaptations in vascular and lymphatic function in an array of disease states.

About Me

Focus Areas





  • B.S., Kinesiology, University of Michigan
  • M.S., Kinesiology, University of Texas
  • Ph.D., Physiology, University of Missouri
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Vascular Biology, University of Missouri

Dr. Cristine Heaps graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and completed her Master of Science degree in Kinesiology at the University of Texas in Austin. After working in San Antonio for Krug Life Sciences for five years contracted to the Department of Defense, Dr. Heaps returned to academia to pursue her Ph.D. in Physiology at the University of Missouri in Columbia. There, she began her research on adaptations in the coronary circulation with exercise training in both health and disease. After completion of her Ph.D., Dr. Heaps continued as a Postdoctoral Fellow followed by Research Assistant Professor at the University of Missouri. Dr. Heaps joined the faculty at the Texas A&M College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences in 2004. Her primary research interest continues to explore the effects of exercise training on the coronary circulation, with primary emphasis on the microcirculation.

  • Physiology/Vascular Biology
  • Cardiovascular Disease
  • Coronary Circulation
  • Vascular Smooth Muscle
  • Vascular Endothelium
  • Exercise Physiology

Cardiovascular Sciences
Exercise and the Cardiovascular System
Regular exercise is a proven, powerful and cost-effective intervention for the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both men and women in the United States. Our group uses a combination of in vitro and in vivo approaches to gain a better understanding of the fundamental cellular and molecular mechanisms that underlie exercise-induced cardioprotection in coronary artery disease. Through these experiments, we identify mechanisms driving exercise-induced improvements in blood flow into ischemic myocardium which subsequently promote enhanced cardiac function. Findings from these studies have the potential to provide insight into new therapeutic targets for treatment of coronary artery disease.

Dr. Heaps interacts with students in the classroom as well as her research laboratory. In the laboratory, Dr. Heaps works with undergraduate students, often providing them with their first research opportunity and mentors graduate students interested in pursuing research in the area of vascular physiology. In the classroom, Dr. Heaps provides lectures in Systemic Physiology (VTPP 605 and 606) on principles of neural communication and cardiovascular physiology. Dr. Heaps is also the course director for Vascular Physiology (VTPP 655) and guest lectures in other undergraduate, graduate, and professional courses in the College of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences.

Cristine Heaps is not accepting trainees at this time.

Current trainees:
Kalen Johnson, B.S., M.S.

Trevor Self, B.S.

Sharanee Sytha, B.S.