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Mari Herigstad

Dr Mari Herigstad



Physiologist working in imaging, interested in the impact of carbon monoxide on vascular function and disease development.


I am a physiologist whose research interests lie in the intersection between physiology, neuroscience and medicine. I have worked on the effect of carbon monoxide and hypoxia on human physiology and pathophysiology and on perception of respiratory symptoms in cardiorespiratory disease. I did an undergraduate degree in biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, and a DPhil in physiology at the University of Oxford.


I teach physiology and related topics across a range of courses within the Department of Biosciences and Chemistry.


My research is on the effects of low-level carbon monoxide on physiology and disease development. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that most of us breathe in every day through air pollution. Worldwide, the World Health Organisation estimates that 4.2 million deaths per year occur due to air pollution, and we know that carbon monoxide air pollution is linked with increased incidence of vascular diseases, such as stroke and vascular dementia. I have shown that even small amounts of the gas have significant impact on cerebral blood flow and cerebrovascular function. However, we do not yet know precisely how low-level carbon monoxide exposure affects vascular health and contributes to pathophysiology. Nor do we know how much carbon monoxide is safe to breathe over time. In my research I aim to address this using a combination of imaging and physiological/biological and behavioural data.

This research naturally lends itself to undergraduate and postgraduate research projects.

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