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Departmental Seminars

Fall Semester 2017

Monday, October 23, 2017

12:00 - 1:00 PM in SSMB 138

Insulin resistance and neuroplasticity

Claudia A. Grillo, Research Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Physiology & Neuroscience, University of South Carolina

Metabolic syndrome and diabetes are disorders of the brain as much as of the body, yet it is unclear whether specific impairments in brain or systemic insulin receptor signaling are primarily responsible for neurological consequences of diabetes, including cognitive dysfunction. Since the hippocampus is a critical integration center for learning and memory, we developed a model of hippocampal-specific insulin resistance (HIR) to selectively examine the mechanistic basis of insulin in neuroplasticity. Rats with HIR did not exhibit peripheral metabolic imbalance; however they exhibited deficits in synaptic transmission and hippocampal-dependent behavioral performance identical to those observed in experimental models of diabetes. These results demonstrate that HIR, independent of peripheral endocrine changes, provides the mechanistic basis for neuroplasticity deficits in metabolic disorders.

Monday, September 18, 2017

12:00-1:00 PM in Harbor Walk West (HWWE) 217

The Mysterious Life of Iron-Oxidizing Bacteria in Estuarine Environments

Erin Field, Assistant Professor, Department of Biology, East Carolina University

Iron-oxidizing bacteria are well-studied in high iron environments such as diffuse hydrothermal vents and freshwater iron seeps. However, we have only recently begun to explore their role in estuarine environments where reduced iron can be limiting and environmental conditions fluctuate rapidly. Recently we have found these microorganisms are widespread in estuarine sediments and can even be found in the water column where reduced iron concentrations are as low as a few micromolar. This talk will focus on the life of iron-oxidizing bacteria in these environments with emphasis on how they have adapted to life with little iron, their potential role in linking iron and sulfur biogeochemical cycles, and how this may lead to biocorrosion in estuarine environments.




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