Transcriptional profiling of Brown Bears
Brown bear experiences three major physiological seasons during a year: i) an active season; ii) a season of hyperphagia that precedes iii) the hibernation season. In collaboration with professors Charlie Robbins, Heiko Jansen, and Joanna Kelley we are constructing, for the first time, a complete picture for the transcriptional profile of a large number of tissues during the period of hibernation. This project is part of a larger endeavor aimed at understanding genetically controlled changes in the physiology that are experienced by brown bears in response to seasonal changes. For this, we are performing RNA-sequencing of multiple tissues to build a transcriptional map of the genes in most organs. In addition to this research we are performing studies to try understand how the changes in microbiome composition (in mouth, stomach and small intestine) are associated to the differences in physiology in different seasons.
For more information on the bears, I encourage you to take a look at the Bear Research, Education and Conservation Center at WSU
We are collaborating with Eli Poulin and Julianna Vianna at Universidad Catolica de Chile in the analysis of Penguin genomics. Dally Noll is a PhD student currently analyzing Gentoo Penguin populations and looking for signatures of selection. Fabiola Leon is working with Magellanic Penguins, Humboldt Penguins, Galapagos Penguin and South African Penguin in an attempt to make sense of the process of diversification of the Spheniscus genus.
Penguins are a great system to try to understand adaptations to climate changing conditions in the last 5000 years. A question we will be looking into more detail in the coming years!
By Andrew Shiva / Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=46772024
By Martin St-Amant (S23678) – Own work (Martin St-Amant), CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=11862839
By en:User:Cburnett – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1259514
Jansen HT, Trojahn S, Saxton MW, Quackenbush CR, Evans Hutzenbiler BD, Nelson OL, Cornejo OE, Robbins CT, Kelley JL. Hibernation induces widespread transcriptional remodeling in metabolic tissues of the grizzly bear. Commun Biol. 2019 Sep 13;2:336. doi: 10.1038/s42003-019-0574-4