B.Sc., University of Birmingham UK, Biological Sciences (Genetics), 1985
Ph.D., Univerisity of St. Andrews, UK, Molecular and Cellular Physiology
Associate Professor, Department of Biology
Georgia Southern University
My laboratory is interested in the role that genes play in physiological processes. The particular physiological processes we study include the systems fish employ to control the concentration and amount of their body fluids, as exemplified by the regulation of the levels of salts and water inside and outside of cells and their movement between the two environments. The role various genes play in these processes is currently being studied in eels, sharks, and killifish.
Molecular Physiology of Osmoregulation: The Effect of Osmotic Stress on the Transcriptome Due to Modulations in Environmental Salinity
Our lab is interested in the role that genes play in physiological processes. The processes studied include the systems fish employ to control the concentration and amount of body fluids, as exemplified by the regulation of the levels of salts and water inside and outside of cells and the movement of these between these two locations. These processes are known as osmoregulation and control body fluid volume. In euryhaline teleost fish, such as eels and killifish, one way to determine many of the genes involved in osmotic homeostasis is to manipulate the salinity of the external environment. Euryhaline fish species can be transferred between freshwater and seawater and the effect of these opposing osmotic stressors on the fish’s transcriptome can be used to identify genes that are up- or down- regulated due to the environmental manipulation. Similar experiments can be performed on dogfish sharks using the smaller range of environmental salinities that they can tolerate. While many ion transport proteins involved in ion and water balance have been identified this way, by this lab and others, current research predominately focuses on the role of members of the the aquaporin water channel gene family. Graduate, undergraduate, and high school students will be involved in research utilizing techniques such as fluorescent immunohistochemistry and laser-scanning confocal microscopy to identify transport proteins located in tissues/cells known to participate in osmoregulation. Students will also be engaged in experiments aimed at knocking-down the expression of gene candidates likely to be involved osmotic homeostasis using the latest morpholino based technology.