Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

Sponsored by the American Physiological Society

Llamas to the rescue?

A couple years back, we talked about how nanobodies created by camelids, such as alpacas and llamas, may lead to the discovery of new disease-fighting drugs. Aptly named, nanobodies are tiny pieces of antibodies that can bind to target proteins more easily than larger antibodies. Researchers in labs around the world are now exploring llama nanobodies for the treatment of Covid-19. Check out the video below released this month by […]

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Hypoxia improves exercise duration

Speaking of hypoxia, a new study published in Physiological Reports examined how training for 2 weeks under 18% hypoxia impacts muscles of Thoroughbred horses. Unlike humans, these horses do not increase production of red blood cells to enhance oxygen transport throughout the body under hypoxic conditions. This difference led researchers to speculate that the horses had other ways of adapting to exercise.   In the new study, horses were trained […]

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Cholesterol levels in tissues change during hypoxia in naked mole rats

Naked mole rats are rather famous from a physiological perspective for their amazing ability to live in hypoxic conditions. They do so in part by reducing their metabolic rate. In fact, researchers at the University of Ottawa in Canada showed that reducing environmental oxygen levels to 11% resulted in a 34% decrease in the animal’s metabolic rate. Studies of hypoxia-tolerant goldfish show that the animals respond to hypoxia challenges by […]

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Feline drug may lead to new Covid-19 treatment

Researchers at Anivive, a pet health drug discovery and commercialization company, are seeking approval to test a new drug for Covid-19 that was originally developed to treat feline intestinal coronavirus. Similar to Covid-19, feline coronavirus is very contagious. In some cats, the virus mutates and leads to feline infectious peritonitis (FIP), which is currently the top cause of death for young cats and kittens (~700,000 cats annually). The new drug, […]

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Exploring how temperature impacts the characteristics of animals

We are delighted to speak with Dr. Casey Mueller who is currently an Assistant Professor at California State University San Marcos. Dr. Mueller is a member of the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society and was scheduled to present her research at the 2020 Experimental Biology conference last month. Unfortunately, the conference was cancelled due to Covid-19. Her researchappears in the May issue of the FASEB […]

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Defining Comparative Physiology

Today I interviewed Mr. Anthony J. Basile from Arizona State University who is working in the laboratory of Dr. Karen Sweazea. Anthony is a nutritionist and a third-year evolutionary biology PhD student whose research focuses on nutrition-related disease. He was scheduled to present his study at the 2020 Experimental Biology conference in San Diego last month. As with many plans these days, the conference was cancelled due to Covid-19. Can […]

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The Effects of Ocean Acidification on California Sea Hare

Today’s guest blog entry comes from Rebecca Zlatkin. Rebecca ‘Becky’ Zlatkin was born and raised in Miami, FL and recently graduated from the University of Miami with a bachelor’s in Exercise Physiology and a minor in Biology. Previously a student at Miami Dade College’s Honor College, Becky came to the lab of Martin Grosell at UM’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science through the Bridge to Baccalaureate Program, a collaboration […]

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What’s the buzz about bees?

We are excited to share the following interview with Dr. Lizzette Cambron, an NSF Graduate Fellow working in Dr. Kendra Greenlee’s laboratory at North Dakota State University. Dr. Cambron was scheduled to present her research at the 2020 Experimental Biology conference last month in a Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology session hosted by the American Physiological Society. As with many conferences, the meeting was cancelled due to Covid-19.  She has agreed […]

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Physiology of diving animals: how do they deal with hypoxia?

Dr. Jose Pablo Vazquez-Medina (pictured at right), a comparative physiologist at the University of California – Berkeley, was scheduled to present several ongoing studies from his lab at the Experimental Biology conference last month. Dr. Vazquez-Medina is a member of the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society. Although the conference was cancelled due to Covid-19, Dr. Vazquez-Medina has agreed to share his research with us.   […]

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Worms turn bright blue with fright

Marine parchment worms have an unusual response to threats. They release a sticky bioluminescent mucus that glows blue. This physiological response is unique because the bioluminescence is constant as opposed to appearing in flashes like other marine organisms. In order to produce sustained light, the mucus would have to contain a source of energy. What they found was that the slime contained an iron protein called ferritin.  When the team […]

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