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
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.