Life Lines by Dr. Dolittle

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Obese Horses

Abigail Harms, an undergraduate student at Beloit College working with Dr. Kathryn Johnson, also presented her research today at the Experimental Biology 2019 conference examining the effects of obesity in horses. Just like humans and pets, horses are increasingly becoming obese. Her research is seeking ways to measure hormonal changes that occur with obesity in different breeds of horses.  

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Mourning doves do not need to watch their figures

So jealous. Research presented by Anthony Basile, graduate student in the laboratory of Dr. Karen Sweazea at Arizona State University, at Experimental Biology 2019 examined how mourning doves would respond to a diet high in saturated fats. He reported on how mice fed a similar diet develop pathological changes in hormones and metabolism, as would be expected. But, doves fed a similar diet did not seem to show any notable […]

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Dietary carotenoids and oxidative stress- What can we learn from birds?

Congratulations to this year’s Dr. Dolittle Travel Award winner, Alex Mohr from Arizona State University! Alex is presenting his research at the annual Experimental Biology conference in Orlando, FL (Mohr AE, Girard M, Rowe M, McGraw KJ, Sweazea KL. Varied Effects of Dietary Carotenoid Supplementation on Oxidative Damage in Tissues of Two Waterfowl Species).  Here is his award-winning blog entry describing his research on carotenoids in ducks: In relation to tissue […]

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How ground squirrels recycle nitrogen

Hibernation is a rather remarkable strategy some animals use to survive winter when food availability is limited. Dr. Matthew Regan, a postdoctoral fellow in the laboratory of Dr. Hannah Carey at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, presented research at the Experimental Biology 2019 conference today that explored how 13-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) regulate protein metabolism during hibernation. What is remarkable about 13-lined ground squirrels in particular is that they […]

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Experimental Biology 2019

The annual 2019 Experimental Biology conference starts in 2 days! I am looking forward to the myriad of comparative physiology sessions at this year’s meeting. Sunday will feature trainee presentations on a variety of topics ranging from how the gut microbiome shifts in ground squirrels with the seasons, insulin resistance in horses, and muscle performance of lizards. Monday will be a jam-packed day filled with topics on how ectotherms regulate […]

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Dogs can sniff out epileptic seizures

A new study published by researchers at the University of Rennes in France shows that epileptic seizures produce a distinct body odor profile that can be detected by dogs, opening up the possibility of training the animals to predict (and warn their owners about) these types of seizures. Sources: Video: YouTube Catala A, Grandgeorge M, Schaff J-L, Cousillas H, Hausberger M, Cattet J. Dogs demonstrate the existence of an epileptic […]

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PUFAs change muscle characteristics in a migratory bird without improving flight performance

Migratory birds are undoubtedly endurance athletes. In fact, their flights last hours to days. Could you imagine? But, unlike mammals that fuel endurance exercise by burning carbohydrates, birds fuel their endurance flights with fat. In a new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, researchers were curious about whether the TYPE of dietary fat used to fuel endurance exercise was important. To examine this […]

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