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Physiology

Unique adaptations of a grazing, high-altitude primate

Life at high altitude is associated with many physiological challenges, including exposure to conspicuous stressors such as hypoxia and extreme cold. Consequently, most animals living at high altitude have been under strong selection to develop adaptations to these challenges. Unveiling adaptations in other high-altitude-living animals, including nonhuman primates, could therefore help illuminate the mechanisms underlying adaptive evolution of myriad traits. Here, we investigated the genetic adaptations to high altitude in a novel nonhuman primate model, the gelada monkey.

A model for how students develop principle-based reasoning in physiology

To gain expertise in a field is to understand and use underlying disciplinary principles. Too often students rely on rote memorization to solve problems rather than apply appropriate principles of physics that governs biological phenomena, that is, use principle-based reasoning. Students who rely on memorization can list the steps of generating an action potential or stomatal opening but cannot reason to a correct prediction when changes are introduced in the system, e.g. when a toxin is applied.

The interplay of plasticity and evolution in seasonal, changing environments

Organisms respond to climate change via tracking through space or time, phenotypic plasticity, or evolution.  A key question is whether plasticity facilitates evolution by enabling persistence or hinders evolution by buffering selection. I will present a phenotype-based forecasting framework for montane butterflies, which finds that plasticity facilitates evolution by reducing fluctuations in selection, particularly in more seasonal environments.  Repeating historic lab and field studies and examining museum specimens reveals both the viability of evolutionary responses and t

Using Core Competencies and Evidence-Based Teaching Practices to Structure Courses

Building a successful and inclusive classroom can be complicated! Using two examples of courses I teach I will outline practices I use to improve engagement, growth, and achievement in our biology students.  I will also share novel student-centered teaching practices I use to engage students in a large-lecture non-majors physiology course and how those practices have spread through my work with UW in the High School. Additionally, UW Biology has recently undertaken a new upper-division human anatomy lab course which I have designed and implemented this year.

Synchronizing in Seattle: Entrainment of networked brain circadian clocks

Last year, we celebrated the Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology awarded for the discoveries of the molecular basis of daily rhythms in cells. These circadian (~24 h) rhythms are common across phyla and cell types. In vertebrates, the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) synchronizes circadian rhythms in behavior and physiology to the external light cycle, but the mechanisms by which this occurs are unclear.

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