Applications for Metabolic Rate Depression
All life is shaped by its environment. Each species has its own unique way of dealing with stresses and lifestyle demands. For organisms in cold and northern regions, survival is dependent upon adapting to extremes of temperature, oxygen deprivation and water restriction. For some species, cells and organs thrive under such conditions.
The exploration of cell adaptation begins with gene expression. What mitochondrial genes enable certain mammals to reduce their metabolic rate by 95 percent and core body temperature to near 0° C during hibernation? How can some species' organs sustain freezing and thawing without becoming damaged? How can animals survive for weeks at a time without oxygen? Delving into the genetic basis for such behaviour will ultimately allow us to apply what is learned to human cells.
Carleton University's Strategic Research Plan in the Life Sciences takes a broad based approach to the study of organisms in their environment, with a special focus on northern and cold regions and encouragement for collaborations with outside institutions and organizations. The Biology, Chemistry and Biochemistry departments at Carleton University will presently be undergoing dramatic changes, renovations and upgrades in the interest of fostering research. At the centre of these faculties' work is that of Dr. Kenneth B. Storey.
Dr. Storey has been part of Carleton University's Institute of Biochemistry since 1979. In keeping with the university's support for collaborative efforts, Dr. Storey has - while maintaining a multi-disciplinary career within the university, involving himself in the Departments of Biology and Chemistry - developed close ties with physiologists in the Department of Biology at the University of Ottawa. With the assistance of colleagues and students, Dr. Storey intends to probe metabolic arrest and cold hardiness in living organisms and their application to human physiology. At the core of this work is the study of gene expression.