In the Hood lab, we conduct a mix of field and captive studies and take both descriptive and experimental approaches. Nearly every empirical study we conduct requires both hands-on animal work and laboratory analyses. A few of our approaches to research set us apart from other labs.

 

 

Semi-natural enclosures

Animal phenotypes are determined by gene by environmental interactions. Thus, if we are interested in quantifying phenotypic variation among individuals, we think that it is important to study animals under natural contexts.  Because following many species of animals in the field over time is challenging, we conduct many of our studies semi-natural enclosures. These enclosures are designed to mimic the conditions of animals living in the wild. We currently have semi-natural enclosures for both maintaining house mice (Mus musculus) and Peromyscus species.

These videos are taken from a 360 camera. Click on the direction button that appears in the left of the image - you can move the image and check out the full enclosure.

                        Mus musculus enclosures                                   Peromyscus sp. enclosures

 

AU MitoMobile

When we measure mitochondrial performance, we must work with live mitochondria that are collected from unstressed animals. These requirements initially limited us to work with captive animals or animals that live on or near campus. Working with the Hill lab and colleagues in Kinesiology and Engineering, we were awarded a Presidential Award for Interdisciplinary Research to build a mobile laboratory, the AU MitoMobile

This renovated recreational vehicle is now set up with lab space to complete all of our mitochondrial respiratory physiology measurements, measures of reactive oxygen species production, and measures of whole animal respiration. With the MitoMobile, we can now take the lab to the animals, rather than the animals to the lab. You can learn more about the project here.

  

 

 

Lab Analyses

 

Most of our mitochondrial work is done in collaboration with the Kavazis lab and thus, we do a lot of our work in his Kinesiology laboratory. Associated with this collaboration, we have the capacity to measure mitochondrial respiratory physiology measurements, reactive oxygen species production, relative expression of key proteins associated with oxidative stress and mitochondrial function, among others.  We also have a lab in the biology department for genotyping, hormone, and nutritional assays. Our electron microscopy work in completed on the electron microscope housed in Biological Sciences. 

These videos are taken from a 360 camera. Click on the direction button that appears in the left of the image - you can move the image and check out the full enclosure.

 

Our Approach to Research:

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