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Physiology and Biochemistry Graduate Seminar Series

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. A reminder and link will be sent each Thursday morning.

Contact Brent Sinclair for further information.

April 7, 2022

Hossein Asgari (Mhatre)

3D tracking of widow spiders walking across their webs 

Widow spiders use vibrations to sense their environment. It’s been shown that their posture affects their sensitivity to different vibrations. I am aiming to quantify their movement patterns and sensory maps as they’re walking across their webs.

Lamees Mohammad (Sinclair)

Brain Freeze: The neurobiology of freeze tolerance in Gryllus veletis

The brain is essential for animal function. Ice formation in the brain causes neuronal damage, dysfunction, and death. Freeze tolerant insects can survive ice formation, presumably in the brain. My research focuses on the molecular and physiological processes necessary for nervous system freeze tolerance using Gryllus veletis as a model.

All are welcome at 12.30 pm on Zoom: https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/j/97537375455
You’ll need to be logged into your uwo zoom account to get in. 

March 31, 2022

Stefane Saruhashi (Sinclair)

Insights into mechanisms of post-thawing recovery in the spring field cricket Gryllus veletis

Freeze-tolerant insects need to protect or recover themselves from freeze-thaw damage. The metabolically active tissue, the Malpighian tubule, is presumably involved in post-thawing recovery but is susceptible to freeze-thaw injury. In this study, I’ll investigate how the spring field cricket protects or recovers itself from mitochondrial freeze-injury and oxidative damage.

Julia Hammer (Way)

Photosynthetic responses to climate change in three boreal trees

To resolve uncertainty in climate models associated with boreal forest CO2 uptake, I grew three boreal trees under elevated CO2 and warming and measured changes in their photosynthetic capacity. I found interesting variation among species.

All are welcome at 12.30 pm on Zoom: https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/j/92190323079
You’ll need to be logged into your uwo zoom account to get in. 

March 24, 2022

Mina Esfandiari (Bernards/Dhaubadel)

The role of peroxidases in suberin assembly in potato

Suberin is a polymer of phenolic and aliphatic domains deposited in the cell wall. The polyphenolic domain is polymerized by peroxidases. My research focus is to knockdown peroxidase genes in potato to understand their role in suberin assembly.

Amalie Hutchinson (Staples)

Why birds are better than squirrels The mitochondrial physiology of torpid hummingbirds

Ruby-throated hummingbirds use torpor to save energy during cold nights. It is not known how mitochondria are implicated in this phenotype, or if avian mitochondria have evolved similar mechanisms as mammalian heterotherms to suppress metabolism. I will sample mitochondria from liver and pectoralis and perform high-resolution respirometry to characterize mitochondrial function between torpor and euthermia.

March 17, 2022

Brynne Duffy (Staples)

Don’t sleep on ROS: the dynamics and implications of reactive oxygen species during hibernation in the 13-lined ground squirrel, Ictidomys tridecemlineatus

Mitochondrial metabolic suppression saves energy during hibernation but may also reduce reactive oxygen species (ROS) production as ground squirrels cycle between torpor and interbout euthermia. I will discuss the dynamics of ROS production during hibernation and present a possible implication of high ROS concentrations on torpid mitochondria. 

March 3, 2022

Libesha Anparasan (Hobson/McNeil)

Differential allocation patterns of essential and nonessential fatty acids between migration and reproduction in Lepidoptera

Many insect species are migratory, but migration is energetically costly, leading to a trade-off between migration and subsequent reproduction. Insects have evolved many adaptions to reduce this cost, with one such adaptation being differential use of resources. My research focuses on the differential use of fatty acids in migrant Lepidopterans and how different ecological conditions experienced by individuals may affect these patterns.

Spencer Matt (Macfie)

Studying the effects of sulfur addition on cadmium uptake and translocation in soybean Glycine max

There’s increasing global contamination of crop soils and the environment due to cadmium pollution. Sulfur has been shown to reduce cadmium uptake, translocation, and toxicity in rice and wheat. I am studying the effects of sulfur addition in the presence of cadmium in soybean to understand the role increased sulfur concentration has on cadmium interactions in soybean.

February 17, 2022

Soren Coulson (Guglielmo/Staples)

Blowing in the wind: Mitochondria are robust against prolonged flight in a migratory songbird

Prolonged flight in migrating songbirds damages their flight muscle, potentially compromising mitochondrial function. We measured mitochondrial function in blackpoll warblers after eight hours of continuous flight in the AFAR wind tunnel and found no evidence of mitochondrial dysfunction.

Alyssa Stephens (Sinclair)

How does the spring field cricket, Gryllus veletis, accumulate trehalose?

The spring field cricket, Gryllus veletis, accumulates the sugar trehalose when exposed to a 6-week cold acclimation; however, it’s unclear how trehalose metabolism is altered to facilitate this accumulation. In this study, I used a combination of molecular and biochemical techniques to measure trehalose production, transport, and consumption.

Andrew Rabas (Bernards)

Non-destructive assessment of the onset and severity of fungal disease on ginseng roots.

In American ginseng, Ilyonectria mors-panacis (IMP) is a potential driver of replant disease (GRD). To evaluate IMP’s role in GRD, I am using chlorophyll fluorescence as a non-destructive tool to monitor disease onset and severity.

February 10, 2022

Peter Baker (Neff lab)

The effect of dietary thiaminase on cardiac performance in lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush)

Thiamine deficiency (TD) is considered to be one of the greatest threats to lake trout in the Great Lakes, however the cardiorespiratory impairments associated with TD are unknown. In this study, I compare cardiac performance metrics between two strains of lake trout fed a high- and low-thiamine diet.

Reese Gartly (Mhatre lab)

Investigating how spider morphology impacts vibration perception

Spiders use vibrations to sense their surroundings. How do these vibrations transmit through the complicated object that is the spider body? Using laser Doppler vibrometry (LDV), we measure vibration transmission in the body of Araneus diadematus. Future work will measure other spiders and a comparative approach will allow us to consider the role of morphology in vibration sensing.

February 3, 2022

Jessica Sinka (Bernards lab)

Metabolic flux analysis during wound-healing in potato tubers

Abstract: 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.

Kevin Young (Guglielmo lab)

The Effects of Biofilm Derived n-3 PUFA on Western Sandpiper Metabolic Performance.

Abstract: Marine associated shorebirds consume diets rich in n-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA), however the effect that these nutrients have on shorebirds’ performance during migration is unclear. To test for the effects of n-3 PUFA, I measured metabolic rates of Western Sandpipers fed diets with controlled fatty acid profiles.

Join us for the first seminar session for this term ten minutes before the start of the talk (https://westernuniversity.zoom.us/j/98434369964).