Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Diet and Exercise

Arizona Physiological Society’s annual conference: Part 2

Arizona’s physiologists met in October to talk about Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, urbanization, the evolution of walking and vocalizations, snow leopards, and diet. Here are the highlights… Oral Presentations: Graduate student Luke Endicott from the Arizona College of Medicine at Midwestern University, working with R. Potter and Dr. C.R. Olson presented their research exploring how zebra finches learn to sing and the importance of vitamin A in this process. Does […]

Continue Reading →

Now featuring: Arizona Physiological Society

Now featuring the Arizona Physiological Society, who held their annual meeting October 29-30. In attendance were students, postdocs, and faculty from the Downtown, Tempe and West campuses of Arizona State University, AT Still University, Glendale University, Midwestern University, Northern Arizona University, as well as the Phoenix and Tucson campuses of the University of Arizona. The Keynote Address was given by Dr. William Karasov, from the University of Wisconsin Department of […]

Continue Reading →

Today’s Feature: Midlands Society of Physiological Sciences

October was a great month for physiology! The Midlands Society of Physiological Sciences also held their virtual annual meeting on October 23rd.  Highlights from Oral Presentations: Lucas Wang, undergraduate student at the University of Nebraska – Omaha (in collaboration with Lie Gao, Bryan Hackfort, and Irving Zucker) presented research exploring how upregulating a pathway in skeletal muscle that protects from oxidative stress and inflammation prevented age-related declines in heart and […]

Continue Reading →

Featuring: Missouri Physiological Society

The Missouri Physiological Society held their virtual annual meeting on Saturday October 16th. Membership in the society includes high school, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers, scientists, and science policy administrators/advocates in the state of Missouri. Highlights from the Oral Presentations: The Keynote Address was given by Dr. John Hall, Arthur C. Guyton Professor and Chair of Physiology and Biophysics as well as Founding Director of the Mississippi Center for Obesity […]

Continue Reading →

Extreme Diet: The blood thirsty vampire bat

Just in time for Halloween: I came across a preprint in bioRxiv that identified 13 genes missing from vampire bats (Desmodus rotundus), but found in other bat species. Animals that drink blood, or sanguivores, have to deal with a diet that is high in protein but typically lower in fat and sugar. Many of the missing genes are thought to be related to their ability to drink blood and obtain […]

Continue Reading →

Now there’s an endurance athlete:

With the Beijing 2022 Olympics quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to showcase some extreme animals. Take the Arctic tern (above), for example. These birds hold the record for longest migration. Terns are born during the summer in the Arctic circle and travel all the way to the Antarctic circle every year to spend the summer – a distance of ~30,000 km, talk about a marathon! For comparison, […]

Continue Reading →

Oddity of mammalian red blood cells

Mammalian red blood cells do not have a nucleus, which is different from birds, amphibians, reptiles, and fish (see image above). Many textbooks report that the absence of a nucleus provides room for more hemoglobin within the cells, which is important to fuel the relatively high metabolic rates of mammals. Hemoglobin is an important oxygen-binding molecule that allows the red blood cells to transport oxygen to tissues throughout the body […]

Continue Reading →

Extreme Physiology of Diving

Can you imagine what would happen to your body if you dove up to 1700 meters deep in the ocean for an hour and a half, or experienced months of food deprivation? In the case of deep diving, the high pressure causes the collapse of the lungs of terrestrial mammals (including humans!) and depletion of body oxygen stores, whereas long fasting periods compromise health and induce muscle wasting. Northern elephant […]

Continue Reading →

Day 1: Experimental Biology 2021

I attended a really great session this afternoon on the Evolutionary Physiology of Locomotor Behavior: Causes, Consequences, and Mechanisms.   The session started with a talk by Dr. David Raichlin from the University of Southern California who spoke about locomotion from a human perspective. He described how locomotion is not only essential for the survival of species, but also provides benefits for the aging brain. It was fascinating to learn […]

Continue Reading →

Surviving the cold

The ability to regulate body temperature is critical for animals. This is especially true for small mammals as they have a larger surface area resulting in more heat loss to the environment than larger animals. Animals that stay active during the winter likewise have to spend more energy to stay warm. To do this well, they need to balance heat loss with heat generation through shivering as well as non-shivering […]

Continue Reading →