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