Mari Herigstad

Dr Mari Herigstad Cand.Mag., DPhil., FHEA



I received my DPhil in physiology from the University of Oxford in 2008 in the field of cardiorespiratory control. My interests lie in the impact of carbon monoxide exposure on physiological function and pathophysiology development, particularly in the cardiovascular system and the brain.


I am a physiologist whose research interests lie in the intersection between physiology, neuroscience and medicine. My research spans human experimental work, cell biology and developmental biology, and I use techniques such as MRI, ultrasound and micro CT.
I did my undergraduate degree (candidata magisterii) in biology at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology in Trondheim, and a DPhil in physiology at the University of Oxford, where I worked on integrative aspects of cardiorespiratory control, looking at the impact of physiological stressors such as hypoxia. Following my DPhil I worked as a postdoctoral researcher on the preception of respiratory symptoms in cardiorespiratory disease at the Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics and the Oxford Centre for Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research. In 2014, I began researching the impact of carbon monoxide on physiology, focusing on low-level exposures, at Oxford Brookes University. I moved to Sheffield Hallam, where I took up a post as a lecturer in biomedical sciences in 2019.


Department of Biosciences and Chemistry

College of Health, Wellbeing and Life Sciences

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.

Sheffield: Study to investigate impact of carbon monoxide on the brain - BBC news

Sheffield Hallam to investigate health repercussions of low level carbon monoxide exposure - press release

My research is funded by the CO Research Trust and supported by Kane International Ltd.
External collaborators include Prof Marysia Placzek (University of Sheffield) and Dr Chris Morris (University of Newcastle). Internal collaborators include Dr Prachi Stafford and Dr Nicholas Peake.


Journal articles

Matias, F.R., Groves, I., Durrans, J., & Herigstad, M. (2024). Carbon monoxide affects early cardiac development in an avian model. Birth Defects Research, 116 (3).

Finnegan, S.L., Harrison, O.K., Booth, S., Dennis, A., Ezra, M., Harmer, C.J., ... Pattinson, K.T.S. (2023). The effect of D-cycloserine on brain processing of breathlessness over pulmonary rehabilitation - an experimental medicine study. ERJ Open Research.

Finnegan, S.L., Harrison, O.K., Harmer, C.J., Herigstad, M., Rahman, N.M., Reinecke, A., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2021). Breathlessness in COPD: linking symptom clusters with brain activity. European Respiratory Journal, 58 (5), 2004099.

Bendell, C., Moosavi, S.H., & Herigstad, M. (2019). Low-level carbon monoxide exposure affects BOLD fMRI response. Journal of Cerebral Blood Flow & Metabolism, 271678X19887358.

Bendell, C., Moosavi, S., & Herigstad, M. (2017). Low-level carbon monoxide exposure affects BOLD FMRI. .

Herigstad, M., Faull, O.K., Hayen, A., Evans, E., Hardinge, F.M., Wiech, K., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2017). Treating breathlessness via the brain: Changes in brain activity over a course of pulmonary rehabilitation. European Respiratory Journal, 50 (3), 1701029.

Herigstad, M., Faull, O., Hayen, A., Evans, E., Hardinge, M., Wiech, K., & Pattinson, K. (2017). Treating the lungs via the brain: Mechanisms underpinning improvements in breathlessness with pulmonary rehabilitation. .

Paley, M., Reynolds, S., Ismail, N., Herigstad, M., Jarvis, D., & Griffiths, P. (2017). Wireless Accelerometer for Neonatal MRI Motion Artifact Correction. Technologies, 5 (1), 6.

Hayen, A., Wanigasekera, V., Faull, O.K., Campbell, S.F., Garry, P.S., Raby, S.J.M., ... Pattinson, K.T.S. (2017). Opioid suppression of conditioned anticipatory brain responses to breathlessness. NeuroImage, 150, 383-394.

Garry, P.S., Rowland, M.J., Ezra, M., Herigstad, M., Hayen, A., Sleigh, J.W., ... Pattinson, K.T. (2016). Electroencephalographic Response to Sodium Nitrite May Predict Delayed Cerebral Ischemia after Severe Subarachnoid Hemorrhage. Critical Care Medicine, 44 (11), e1067-e1073.

Fatemian, M., Herigstad, M., Croft, Q.P.P., Formenti, F., Cardenas, R., Wheeler, C., ... Robbins, P.A. (2016). Determinants of ventilation and pulmonary artery pressure during early acclimatization to hypoxia in humans. The Journal of physiology, 594 (5), 1197-1213.

Herigstad, M., Hayen, A., Reinecke, A., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2016). Development of a dyspnoea word cue set for studies of emotional processing in COPD. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 223, 37-42.

Herigstad, M., Hayen, A., Evans, E., Hardinge, F.M., Davies, R.J., Wiech, K., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2015). Dyspnea-related cues engage the prefrontal cortex: Evidence from functional brain imaging in COPD. Chest, 148 (4), 953-961.

Hayen, A., Herigstad, M., Wiech, K., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2015). Subjective evaluation of experimental dyspnoea--effects of isocapnia and repeated exposure. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 208, 21-28.

Chalif, J.I., Sitsapesan, H.A., Pattinson, K.T.S., Herigstad, M., Aziz, T.Z., & Green, A.L. (2014). Dyspnea as a side effect of subthalamic nucleus deep brain stimulation for Parkinson's disease. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 192, 128-133.

Hayen, A., Herigstad, M., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2013). Understanding dyspnea as a complex individual experience. Maturitas, 76 (1), 45-50.

Liu, C., Croft, Q.P.P., Kalidhar, S., Brooks, J.T., Herigstad, M., Smith, T.G., ... Robbins, P.A. (2013). Dexamethasone mimics aspects of physiological acclimatization to 8 hours of hypoxia but suppresses plasma erythropoietin. Journal of applied physiology (Bethesda, Md. : 1985), 114 (7), 948-956.

Hayen, A., Herigstad, M., Kelly, M., Okell, T.W., Murphy, K., Wise, R.G., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2013). The effects of altered intrathoracic pressure on resting cerebral blood flow and its response to visual stimulation. NeuroImage, 66, 479-488.

Herigstad, M., Hayen, A., Wiech, K., & Pattinson, K.T.S. (2011). Dyspnoea and the brain. Respiratory medicine, 105 (6), 809-817.

Herigstad, M., & Robbins, P.A. (2009). Pulmonary vascular response to air-breathing exercise in humans following an 8-h exposure to hypoxia. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 169 (1), 11-15.

Herigstad, M., & Urquhart, L. (2009). 5th Annual Monoclonal Antibodies Conference: March 24-25, 2009, London, UK. mAbs, 1 (4), 308-317.

Herigstad, M., Fatemian, M., & Robbins, P.A. (2008). Respiratory control during air-breathing exercise in humans following an 8 h exposure to hypoxia. Respiratory physiology & neurobiology, 162 (3), 169-175.

Herigstad, M., Balanos, G.M., & Robbins, P.A. (2007). Can human cardiovascular regulation during exercise be learnt from feedback from arterial baroreceptors? Experimental physiology, 92 (4), 695-704.

Liu, C., Smith, T.G., Balanos, G.M., Brooks, J., Crosby, A., Herigstad, M., ... Robbins, P.A. (2007). Lack of involvement of the autonomic nervous system in early ventilatory and pulmonary vascular acclimatization to hypoxia in humans. The Journal of physiology, 579 (Pt 1), 215-225.

Postgraduate supervision

I currently supervise several PhD students (both internal and external).

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