Dr. Dolittle

Bat Facts

With Halloween quickly approaching, I thought it would be fun to take some time to appreciate bats. Amazing animals!

  A new kind of three-dimensional technology, called IsoView, allows researchers to view biological processes within nontransparent animals that are rather large by microscopy standards such as the drosophila larva above and even the brains of larval zebrafish. According to the article in Nature Methods, the new type of microscope developed at the Janelia Research Campus (Ashburn, Virginia) gives high…

Heart rate variability

In a newly published study from Physiological Reports, researchers were interested in learning more about the basic physiology of African giant rats (Cricetomys gambianus). According to the study, heart rate is one of several “physiological constants” that offer a clue into how an animal might interact with its environment as heart rate may be influenced by season and…

Physiology Updates in Tennessee

The Tennessee Physiological Society held their annual conference on October 9th at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Here are highlights from the meeting: Have you ever heard of “dry needling”? It is a treatment used by some physical therapists that is designed to help alleviate muscle pain by inserting small needles into trigger points. Researchers…

Sleeping with one eye open

Researchers from La Trobe University and Max Planck Institute for Ornithology recorded young crocodiles and found that while the animals typically sleep with both eyes closed, in the morning hours they will sometimes open one eye periodically. If they placed another crocodile in the tank or stood nearby however, the animal would open one eye and look at…

A new study published in the American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology describes how Drosophila melanogaster develop similar heart complications as humans when they become obese. Rather than feeding them a high fat diet to induce obesity, researchers selected flies that were resistant to starvation over 65 generations. The so-called starvation resistant Drosophila had dilated…

Check out this new YouTube video describing a new study aimed at discovering how elephants resist developing cancer:

This is a great month for Physiology! Several of the local chapters of the American Physiological Society (APS) are having their annual meetings.   The Nebraska Physiological Society met this past weekend at the University of South Dakota, Sanford School of Medicine. Here are the highlights from their meeting: Dr. Bill Yates, Professor from the University…

Biofluorescent sea turtle

Check out this neat video from National Geographic’s emerging explorer, David Gruber (a marine biologist at the City University of New York) in which he discusses coming across what he claims is the first observation of biofluorescence in a sea turtle: Video source: YouTube

Maintaining blood sugar during fasting

A study published earlier this month examined how Canada geese (Branta canadensis), long-distance migratory birds, regulate their blood sugar levels during prolonged fasting. Dr. Jean-Michel Weber and Eric Vaillancourt (University of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada) were interested in understanding whether the pancreatic hormone glucagon could alter blood sugar in the birds. In mammals, glucagon maintains glucose homeostasis during periods of…