Video: Evenings at Whitney – The Living Dead: Metabolic Arrest and the Control of Biological Time
The Evenings at Whitney Lecture Series hosted by the University of Florida Whitney Laboratory returned on Feb. 9, 2017, at 7 p.m. with the program titled “The Living Dead: Metabolic Arrest and the Control of Biological Time.” Canada Research Chair in Molecular Physiology and Carleton University Professor of Biochemistry Kenneth Storey talked about how hibernation, or dormancy, provides animals with a key survival mechanism to overcome daunting environmental challenges. This free lecture was presented at Lohman Auditorium located at 9505 Ocean Shore Blvd., on the Whitney Laboratory campus.
Storey shared how hibernation, while not part of the human experience, is widespread across the animal kingdom. It is a phenomenon where animals enter reversible cycles of deep inactivity for days, weeks or months. During that time, the metabolic rate drops and all bodily functions are greatly suppressed. Animals go into dormancy to overcome a number of factors, including extreme cold, heat, dryness and/or oxygen deficiency. One such animal that Storey talked about was the wood frog, which freezes solid for months in the winter with no heartbeat, blood circulation, breathing or detectable brain activity. When the frog unthaws in the spring, there is no tissue or organ damage and all vital functions return. The ultimate purpose of this research is to learn how to preserve human organs longer than currently possible for transplantation purposes.
Storey received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Calgary and doctorate from the University of British Columbia. His research focus is biochemical adaptation. He uses tools from the study of enzymes, protein chemistry and molecular biology to identify the process of hibernation, freezing survival, hot or dry dormancy and oxygen deficiency tolerance. Storey has written more than 750 publications and given hundreds of talks worldwide. He has received numerous awards, including the Society for Cryobiology Medal in 2014, Canadian Society of Zoologists Fry Medal in 2011, and Royal Society of Canada Flavelle Medal in Biological Sciences in 2010. For more information about Storey and his lab, visit www.kenstoreylab.com.