Graduate Student Seed Grant Projects

Staying healthy in a challenging world: the mechanisms underlying the effect of glucocorticoids on the response to avian malaria infection
Investigators:

Laura Schoenle, Biological Sciences; Faculty Mentors: Ignacio Moore, Biological Sciences and Fran Bonier, Queen’s University, Ontario


WBC_sm

Red blood cells infected with avian malaria

Glucocorticoid hormones (often considered “stress hormones”) provide a mechanism for individuals to rapidly adjust their physiology and behavior to meet the challenges of a variable environment. The wide-ranging effects of glucocorticoids include alterations in immune function and the ability to repair tissue. Thus, glucocorticoids could facilitate a response to parasites that is optimized for the challenges faced by an individual.

We used an observational field study and a controlled experiment to test the role of glucocorticoids in mediating the response to the parasites that cause avian malaria in red-winged blackbirds ( Agelaius phoeniceus ). The Global Change Center seed grant is funding the lab work that will enable us to assess the affects of the hormones on the immune system.

 


Related:

Laura Schoenle receives EPA STAR Fellowship

Laura Schoenle arrives in Ontario for field season