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Sandy Saunders

Sandy Saunders

Special Interests Chair, Women in STEM

MUPA Board,

Dr. Sandy Saunders received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with a specialization in Pharmacology and Therapeutics from the University of Florida. During graduate school, she investigated brainstem mechanisms of opioid-induced respiratory depression. As a result of her graduate work, she was the first to describe how activity of respiratory neurons in the dorsolateral pons of the brainstem is impacted during fentanyl overdose. Her Postdoctoral Fellow research aims to understand how the brainstem respiratory network engages plasticity in the face of environmental perturbation. Overall, her goal is to understand how breathing behavior is generated, maintained, and fails throughout life. Dr. Saunders is passionate about the importance of community, strong leadership, and empowering women in STEM. She spearheaded a local underwater hockey team named “the COMOdo Dragons Underwater Hockey Club” that meets weekly at a pool in Columbia. As the club coach, she teaches adults from the community how to play underwater hockey and receives deep satisfaction watching her team members learn and grow.