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  1. Previously our computational modeling studies (Phillips et al., 2019) proposed that neuronal persistent sodium current (I NaP ) and calcium-activated non-selective cation current (I CAN ) are key biophysical factors that, respectively, generate inspiratory rhythm and burst pattern in the mammalian preBötzinger complex (preBötC) respiratory oscillator isolated in vitro. Here, we experimentally tested and confirmed three predictions of the model from new simulations concerning the roles of I NaP and I CAN : (1) I NaP and I CAN blockade have opposite effects on the relationship between network excitability and preBötC rhythmic activity; (2) I NaP is essential for preBötCmore »rhythmogenesis; and (3) I CAN is essential for generating the amplitude of rhythmic output but not rhythm generation. These predictions were confirmed via optogenetic manipulations of preBötC network excitability during graded I NaP or I CAN blockade by pharmacological manipulations in slices in vitro containing the rhythmically active preBötC from the medulla oblongata of neonatal mice. Our results support and advance the hypothesis that I NaP and I CAN mechanistically underlie rhythm and inspiratory burst pattern generation, respectively, in the isolated preBötC.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available July 7, 2023
  2. Abstract We present the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovery of the LHS 1678 (TOI-696) exoplanet system, comprised of two approximately Earth-sized transiting planets and a likely astrometric brown dwarf orbiting a bright ( V J = 12.5, K s = 8.3) M2 dwarf at 19.9 pc. The two TESS-detected planets are of radius 0.70 ± 0.04 R ⊕ and 0.98 ± 0.06 R ⊕ in 0.86 day and 3.69 day orbits, respectively. Both planets are validated and characterized via ground-based follow-up observations. High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher RV monitoring yields 97.7 percentile mass upper limits of 0.35 Mmore »⊕ and 1.4 M ⊕ for planets b and c, respectively. The astrometric companion detected by the Cerro Tololo Inter-American Observatory/Small and Moderate Aperture Telescope System 0.9 m has an orbital period on the order of decades and is undetected by other means. Additional ground-based observations constrain the companion to being a high-mass brown dwarf or smaller. Each planet is of unique interest; the inner planet has an ultra-short period, and the outer planet is in the Venus zone. Both are promising targets for atmospheric characterization with the James Webb Space Telescope and mass measurements via extreme-precision radial velocity. A third planet candidate of radius 0.9 ± 0.1 R ⊕ in a 4.97 day orbit is also identified in multicycle TESS data for validation in future work. The host star is associated with an observed gap in the lower main sequence of the Hertzsprung–Russell diagram. This gap is tied to the transition from partially to fully convective interiors in M dwarfs, and the effect of the associated stellar astrophysics on exoplanet evolution is currently unknown. The culmination of these system properties makes LHS 1678 a unique, compelling playground for comparative exoplanet science and understanding the formation and evolution of small, short-period exoplanets orbiting low-mass stars.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available March 7, 2023
  3. Free, publicly-accessible full text available October 27, 2022
  4. We present the discovery of TOI-1518b -- an ultra-hot Jupiter orbiting a bright star $V = 8.95$. The transiting planet is confirmed using high-resolution optical transmission spectra from EXPRES. It is inflated, with $R_p = 1.875\pm0.053\,R_{\rm J}$, and exhibits several interesting properties, including a misaligned orbit (${240.34^{+0.93}_{-0.98}}$ degrees) and nearly grazing transit ($b =0.9036^{+0.0061}_{-0.0053}$). The planet orbits a fast-rotating F0 host star ($T_{\mathrm{eff}} \simeq 7300$ K) in 1.9 days and experiences intense irradiation. Notably, the TESS data show a clear secondary eclipse with a depth of $364\pm28$ ppm and a significant phase curve signal, from which we obtain a relativemore »day-night planetary flux difference of roughly 320 ppm and a 5.2$\sigma$ detection of ellipsoidal distortion on the host star. Prompted by recent detections of atomic and ionized species in ultra-hot Jupiter atmospheres, we conduct an atmospheric cross-correlation analysis. We detect neutral iron (${5.2\sigma}$), at $K_p = 157^{+68}_{-44}$ km s$^{-1}$ and $V_{\rm sys} = -16^{+2}_{-4}$ km s$^{-1}$, adding another object to the small sample of highly irradiated gas-giant planets with Fe detections in transmission. Detections so far favor particularly inflated gas giants with radii $rsim 1.78\,R_{\rm J}$; although this may be due to observational bias. With an equilibrium temperature of $T_{\rm eq}=2492\pm38$ K and a measured dayside brightness temperature of $3237\pm59$ K (assuming zero geometric albedo), TOI-1518b is a promising candidate for future emission spectroscopy to probe for a thermal inversion.« less