Thursday Physiologicals

This seminar series allows communication of proposed research or recent results to the P&B graduate group. Participation is compulsory for Physiology & Biochemistry students, and all members of the department are welcome as guests. The talks are held each Thursday at 12:30 on ZOOM in the Kresge Building Room K 103. A reminder and link will be sent each Thursday morning.

Contact Brent Sinclair for further information.

Speakers for Winter 2023

March 23, 2023

Alexander Harrison: Mite Adaptation to Polyphenolic Defense Compounds in A. thaliana

Supervisors: Dr. Vava Grbic and Dr. Mark Bernards

The Grbic lab is interested in investigating the role of phenylpropanoids, a class of plant secondary metabolites, in the plant-pest interaction between A. thaliana (Thale cress) and T. urticae (Two Spotted Spider Mite). In this study, I hope to elucidate the potential mode(s) of mite adaptation to common and species - specific toxic phytochemicals.

Lauren Rego: Posttranslational modifications of mitochondrial proteins in hibernating thirteen-lined ground squirrels

Supervisor: Dr. Jim Staples

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels oscillate between two physiological states during hibernation: torpor and interbout euthermia. My research investigates posttranslational modifications as a potential driving force in changes to mitochondrial metabolism between these two states.

Lorena Yeung: Soybean Root Suberin: Enzyme Characterization and Plant Disease Resistance

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Bernards

The biopolymer suberin protects plants from desiccation and pathogen infection. My research employs biochemical and genome editing tools to characterize key enzymes in aliphatic suberin biosynthesis and test its role in pathogen resistance in soybean.

March 16, 2023

Andrew Rabas: Ginsenosides and Multi-pathogen Interactions in Ginseng Replant Disease

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Bernards

Ginseng cultivation is hampered by ginseng replant disease (GRD), primarily caused by a root rot fungus. My research aims to understand the fungal interactions causing GRD and the dynamic between ginsenosides, soil, and GRD.

Mina Esfandiari: The role of Peroxidases and CASP genes in suberin assembly in potato

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Bernards

Suberin is a polymer of phenolic and aliphatic domains deposited in the cell wall. Peroxidases and CASP genes polymerize polyphenolic domain. I will knockdown these genes in potato to understand their role in suberin assembly.

March 9, 2023

Kevin Young: Do n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids affect thermoregulation and energetics of a migratory shorebird?

Supervisor: Dr. Christopher Guglielmo

Energetic performance may be influenced by dietary n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. My research investigates thermoregulation as a mechanism through which diet may affect energy use in a migratory sandpiper (Calidris mauri).

March 2, 2023

Libesha Anparasan: Effect of rearing conditions on the allocation of larval and adult acquired essential and nonessential fatty acids to flight in two adult Lepidoptera: Danaus plexippus and Mythimna unipuncta

Supervisors: Dr. Keith Hobson and Dr. Jeremy McNeil

Migration is associated with reduced reproductive capacity in many insects. Insects may minimize this trade-off by differentially allocating limited resources. My thesis explores impacts of rearing conditions on differential fatty acid use in nectivorous lepidopterans.

February 16, 2023

Reese Gartly: A joint effort: measuring spider leg joint stiffness

Supervisor: Dr. Natasha Mhatre

Spiders sense vibrations through joint bending. The stiffness of a spider’s leg joint will determine how much the joint bends but, what determines stiffness is unknown. I am trying to predict stiffness using leg size.

Peter Baker: Heart on fire: dietary thiaminase impairs cardiac function and alters heart size in lake trout

Supervisor: Dr. Bryan Neff

Thiamine deficiency (TD) presents as a major threat to lake trout viability in the Great Lakes, however the cardiac impairments associated with TD are unknown. In this study, I examine the effects of TD on cardiac function and morphology.

February 9, 2023

Soren Coulson: Mitos on the move: mitochondrial physiology in migrating songbirds

Supervisors: Drs.Jim Staples and Chris Guglielmo

Migrating songbirds exercise at high intensities for long distances. For my PhD thesis, I study how mitochondrial physiology varies in migratory songbirds in the contexts of evolved migratory strategy, seasonal flexibility and flight challenges.

February 2, 2023

Hossein Asgari: Do black widow spiders use their posture to process vibrations?

Supervisors: Drs. Natasha Mhatre and Brent Sinclair

Posture can affect the sensitivity of black widow spiders to different prey vibrations. I am investigating their walking kinematics and the resulting mechanics to test whether they actively use their posture to aid perception.

Lamees Mohammad: Exploring the neurobiology of freeze tolerance

Supervisor: Dr. Brent Sinclair

It is self-evident that the brain is important. However, ice formation in the brain is lethal for most organisms. I am exploring how some freeze-tolerant insects protect their nervous system from ice formation.

January 26, 2023

Jessica Sinka: Suberin: A Spud-tacular Molecule

Supervisor: Dr. Mark Bernards

Suberin, a protective cell wall biopolymer, has two spatially and chemically distinct domains. Metabolism leading to each domain was tracked using stable isotope labelling. Differential partitioning of carbon between pathways to each domain was observed.

Brynne Duffy: A quantitative description of oxygen supply in hibernating 13-lined ground squirrels

Supervisor: Dr. Jim Staples

Many assume hibernators are a natural model of vascular ischemia-reperfusion (I-R) injury, similar to strokes. Using pulse-oximeter and fMRI technology, arterial oxygen saturation triples during arousal and tissues are differentially reoxygenated. This suggests I-R resistance.

The schedule for the upcoming talks is below.

Date Speakers
Thursday 16 February Gartley (L)
Baker (L)
Thursday 23 February Reading week
Thursday 2 March Anparasan (L-L)
Thursday 9 March Young (L-L)
Thursday 16 March Rabas (L)
Esfandiari (L)
Thursday 23 March Harris (S)
Rego (S)
Ho Cesar (S)
Yeung (S)
Thursday 30 March Colo (S)
Hendricks (S)
Lemoreux (S)
Little (S)
Thursday 6 April Spare
Thursday 13 April Frank (L (by zoom)
Thursday 20 April Hutchinson (L)
Saruhashi (S)