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Hibernating mammals provide a unique system for identifying molecules that are important in regulating metabolism, body temperature and food intake. In a state of deep hibernation, body temperature is only a few degrees above 0°C, oxygen consumption holds at 1/30 to 1/50 of the aroused condition and heart rate can be as low as 3-10 beats/minute, compared to 300-400 beats/minute when the animal is awake and active. Using multi-omic approaches we have identified genes, proteins and small molecules that are responsible for the physiological characteristics of hibernation in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus. Determining the function of gene products and small molecules involved in hibernation is one of the main goals of the laboratory and has applications in the areas of neuroprotection, organ preservation, ischemia/reperfusion injury, and hemorrhagic shock.
This event originated in Biochemistry.