Events

One genome, multiple outcomes: The incorporation of environmental signals into developmental programs in animals via vitamin D.
Monday, March 5, 2018 - 3:30pm

The Fariborz Maseeeh Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Statistics and Statistical Learning Seminar

presents

 
Monday March 5, at 3:30 pm, in Harder house 104
speaker: Jason Podrabsky, Ph.D.
Title: "One genome, multiple outcomes: The incorporation of environmental signals into developmental programs in animals via vitamin D."
Abstract: 
Annual killifishes thrive in ephemeral ponds that are inundated with water for only brief periods of time. Survival of the species is dependent on the drought-tolerant embryos that can enter into a profound state of developmental arrest termed diapause. We have used weighted gene co-expression network analysis (WGCNA) to organize a massive gene expression data set into gene expression modules that are specific to embryos that will enter into diapause. This methodology proved to be a powerful way to organize and reduce the expression of over 26,000 genes into modules associated with entrance into diapause. Using this technique, we were able to identify and then verify that vitamin D signaling is the molecular pathway that regulates entrance into diapause in this species. This represents a new function for vitamin D in animal biology and also suggests a deep homology in the molecular pathways that allow animals to enter into states of metabolic depression and dormancy similar to hibernation. This research suggests that human hibernation may not be science fiction after all!
Bio: 
Dr. Jason Podrabsky is a Professor of Biology at PSU. He has served as Department Chair of Biology for several years, and is currently the Associate Vice President for Research. His research focuses on the interaction between the genome and the environment during embryonic development. He is interested in how a single genotype (DNA sequence) can result in multiple phenotypes (traits or variants) in animals. He believes that studying organisms that live in extreme environments can highlight the most fundamental aspects of biology that are of critical importance for defining life as we know it.