Dr. Robert Wardle, Ph.D.

Research Associate Professor

Phone: 252-744-3385
E-mail: wardler@ecu.edu

Research Interests

I am interested in the mechanisms underlying obstructive airways diseases, particularly those underlying asthma and the associated cardio-respiratory dysfunction.  A recent interest is the relations among aging- and obesity-related inflammation, allergic- and obestity-related asthma, and consequent impact on development of insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes.  Past projects include in vivo characterization of temperature-dependent gas exchange and acid-base regulation in snakes and turtles; characterization of cardiorespiratory mechanics in vivo and ex vivo in rabbits, pigs, dogs, equine and nonhuman primates; in vitro characterization of equine trachealis, porcine carotid and coronary artery, rabbit corpus cavernosum, urethra and bladder smooth muscles; preclinical testing of therapeutics in an in vivo nonhuman primate model of allergic asthma and atopic skin disease; preclinical testing of therapeutics in in vivo rat and nonhuman primate models of respiratory depression; coordinating development of an in vivo nonhuman primate model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis; development of a carbon nanotube inhalation exposure technique for mice; preliminary assessment of systemic delivery of exogenous stem cells as a potential treatment in a chronic nonhuman primate model of allergic asthma; preliminary assessment of the impact of a soy protein (rich in isoflavones)-based chow versus a casein/dairy protein-based chow on manifestation of the allergic asthmatic phenotype in nonhuman primates; development of a technique for measuring upper airway resistance in nonhuman primates, in the context of potential for testing preclinical therapeutics to apply in obstructive sleep apnea; investigating mechanisms underlying life-threatening bradycardia observed in an in vivo nonhuman primate model of allergic asthma, in the context of understanding sudden cardio-respiratory arrest in humans with asthma and obstructive sleep apnea.


  • BS in Biology (1983); The University of Akron
  • MS in Biology (1988); The University of Akron
  • PhD in Physiology/Pharmacology (1994); The Ohio State University
  • Postdoc (1994-1997): University of Virginia
  • Research Associate (1998-2003): University of Virginia
  • Fellow/Research Assistant Professor (2003-2006): University of Cincinnati
  • Research Assistant Professor (2006-2012): East Carolina University
  • Research Associate Professor (2012-2021): East Carolina University


Refereed Publications

  1. Stinner, J.N. and R.L. Wardle. Effect of temperature upon carbon dioxide stores in the snake Coluber constrictor and the turtle Chrysemys scripta. J. exp. Biol. 137:529-548, 1988.
  2. Olson, L.E. and R.L. Wardle. Pleural pressure as a function of body position in rabbits. J. Appl. Physiol. 69:336-344, 1990.
  3. Olson, L.E. and R.L. Wardle. Effect of a regional increase in alveolar pressure on pulmonary blood flow. J. Appl. Physiol. 73:1291-1296, 1992.
  4. Olson, L.E. and R.L. Wardle. Pleural pressure measured with a rib capsule in anesthetized pneumonectomized rabbits. Respir. Physiol. 94:1-9, 1993.
  5. Wardle, R.L. Functional antagonism between muscarinic receptor and beta-adrenergic receptor agonists in equine trachealis muscle in vitro. Ph.D. Dissertation. University Microfilms, Ann Arbor, MI, 1994.
  6. Wardle, R.L., J.D. Strauss, C.M. Rembold, and R. A. Murphy. Heterologous desensitization of smooth muscle to K+ depolarization: retarded stimulus-[Ca2+]i coupling. Am. J. Physiol. 272: C1810-1820, 1997.
  7. Wardle, R.L. and R. A. Murphy. Minor role of a Ca2+-depleted sarcoplasmic reticulum in heterologous desensitization of smooth muscle to K+. Am. J. Physiol. 275: C1095-1103, 1998.
  8. Rembold, C.M., M. O’Connor, M. Clarkson, R.L. Wardle and R.A. Murphy. HSP20 phosphorylation in nitroglycerin- and forskolin-induced sustained reductions in swine carotid media tone. J. Appl. Physiol. 91: 1460-1466, 2001.
  9. Etter, E.F., M. Eto, R.L. Wardle, D.L. Brautigan and R.A. Murphy. Activation of myosin light chain phosphatase in intact arterial smooth muscle during nitric oxide-induced relaxation. J. Biol. Chem. 276 (37): 34681-34685, 2001.
  10. Rembold, C.M., R.L. Wardle, C.J. Wingard, T.W. Batts, E.F. Etter, and R.A. Murphy. Cooperative attachment of cross bridges predicts regulation of smooth muscle force by myosin phosphorylation. Am. J. Physiol. Cell Physiol. 287: C594-C602, 2004.
  11. Gu, M., G.D. Thorne, R.L. Wardle, Y. Ishida and R.J. Paul. Ca2+-independent hypoxic vasorelaxation in porcine coronary artery. J. Physiol. 562.3: 839-846, 2005.
  12. Wardle, R.L., M. Gu, Y. Ishida and R.J. Paul. Ca2+-desensitizing hypoxic vasorelaxation: pivotal role for the myosin binding subunit of myosin phosphatase (MYPT1) in porcine coronary artery. J. Physiol. 572.1: 259-267, 2006.
  13. Clark, J.F., A. Doepke, J.A. Filosa, R.L. Wardle, A. Lu, T.J. Meeker and G.J. Pyne-Geithman. N-Acetylaspartate as a reservoir for glutamate. Medical Hypotheses 67(3):506-12, 2006.
  14. Wardle, R.L., M. Gu, Y. Ishida and R.J. Paul. Rho kinase is an effector underlying Ca2+-desensitizing hypoxic relaxation in porcine coronary artery. Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 293(1): H23-29, 2007.
  15. Wang, X., S. Reece, S. Olmstead, R.L. Wardle and M.R. Van Scott. Nocturnal thoracoabdominal asynchrony in house dust mite-sensitive nonhuman primates. J. Asthma Allergy 3: 75-86, 2010.
  16. Ayanoglu, G., B. Desai, R.B. Fick, Jr., J. Grein, R. de Waal Malefyt, J. Mattson, T. McClanahan, S. Olmstead, S.P. Reece, M.R. Van Scott and R.L. Wardle. Modelling asthma in macaques: longitudinal changes in cellular and molecular markers. Eur.Respir.J. 37: 3: 541-552, 2011.
  17. Louten, J., J.D. Mattson, M.C. Malinao, Y. Li, C. Emson, F. Vega. R.L. Wardle, M.R. Van Scott, R.B. Fick, T.K. McClanahan, R. de Waal Malefyt and M. Beaumont. Biomarkers of disease and treatment in murine and cynomolgus models of chronic asthma. Biomarker Insights 7: 87-104, 2012.
  18. Van Scott, M.R., S.P. Reece, S. Olmstead, R. Wardle and M.D. Rosenbaum. Effects of acute psychosocial stress in a nonhuman primate model of allergic asthma. J. Am. Assoc. Lab Anim. Sci. 52: 2: 157-164, 2013.
  19. Curtis, A.D. 2nd, N. Taslim, S.P. Reece, E. Grebenciucova, R.H. Ray, M.D. Rosenbaum, R.L. Wardle, M.R. Van Scott and M.D. Mannie. The extracellular domain of myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein elicits atypical experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in rat and macaque species. PLoS ONE 9(10): e110048. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0110048. eCollection 2014. Erratum in: PLoS One. 2015;10(2):e0117878.
  20. Golder, F.J., S. Dax, S.M. Baby, R. Gruber, T. Hoshi, C.Ideo, A. Kennedy, S. Peng, V. Puskovic, D. Ritchie, R. Woodward, R.L. Wardle, M.R. Van Scott, J.C. Mannion, and D.E. MacIntyre. Identification and characterization of GAL-021 as a novel breathing control modulator. Anesthesiology 123(5):1093-1104, 2015.

Chapters, Books, and Other Non-Refereed Publications

  1. Reece S.W., R.L. Wardle, S. Gaier, J. Pichler, J. Chandler, A.V. Kravchuk, J.A. Sepulveda, B.D. Putman, L.C. Katwa, S.G. Olmstead, III, S.P. Reece, C.F.W. Becker, M.R. Van Scott and G.C. Mudde. Allergies: Current challenges and solutions (Proceedings of the 30th Symposium of the Collegium Internationale Allergologicum (CIA)), M. Maurer and H. Behrendt, Editors. Vaccination with SG100 attenuates aeroallergen-induced early and late phase asthmatic responses in house dust mite sensitive non-human primates. Pacini Editore S.r.l., Pisa. 215-221, 2016.

Select Abstracts

  1. Wardle, R.L., S.R. Ellis, J.L. Gaddis, S.G. Olmstead, III, B.D. Putnam, S.P. Reece, R.B. Fick, Jr. and M.R. Van Scott. Aeroallergen-induced hypoxic bradycardia in house dust mite-sensitive non-human primates. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 185: A5643, 2012.
  2. Broome, P., R.L. Wardle, X. Wang, S. Gaier, J. Pichler, J. Chandler, L. Katwa, S. Reece, P. Laing, G.C. Mudde, M.R. Van Scott.  Primate study of TYG100 a novel rationally-designed recombinant vaccine for pancreatic cancer: Immunogenicity and tolerability in a species-homologous mode [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 105th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2014 Apr 5-9; San Diego, CA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; 2014. Abstract nr 2886.
  3. Wardle, R.L., J.H. Chandler, X. Wang, B.D. Putnam, J. Pichler, S.
    Gaier, S.G. Olmstead, III, S.P. Reece, L.C. Katwa, G.C. Mudde, and M.R. Van Scott. Vaccine attenuates aeroallergen-induced early and late phase responses in house dust mite sensitive non-human primates. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 189: A4222, 2014.
  4. Wardle, R.L., K.M. Gowdy, J.H. Chandler, S.W. Reece, G. Sperinde, K. von Loehneysen, K.B. Holley, A.F. Reid, N. Sigal, M.R. Van Scott. Epsi-gam attenuates aeroallergen-induced early phase bronchoconstriction and late phase inflammation in house dust mite-sensitive non-human primates. Am. J. Respir. Crit. Care Med. 193: A7875, 2016.
  5. Sepulveda, J., C. Taus, L.C. Mudde-Boer, R.L.Wardle, P. Broome, G.C. Mudde. Primate pharmacology of TYG100, a vaccine employing a novel, antigen-specific checkpoint control mechanism (S-TIR) for pancreatic and gastro-esophageal cancers [abstract]. Accepted for presentation and publication In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Immediately prior to the meeting date, primary authors rejected presenting this abstract due to concerns regarding travel restrictions recently imposed by the U.S.A. President. Hence the abstract was not published.
  6. Woolard, H.G., Fisher-Wellman, K.H., Gowdy, K.M., Reece, S., Collier, D.N. and Wardle, R.L. (2020), Early Metabolic Syndrome (MetS) in Chronic Rhesus Macaque Model of Human Allergic Asthma. The FASEB Journal, 34: 1-1. https://doi.org/10.1096/fasebj.2020.34.s1.04162.