Science and Science Fiction: Human and Animal Hibernation
with Jason E. Podrabsky, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Biology at Portland State University, and a member of the PSU Center for Life in Extreme Environments
Placing humans into stasis or hibernation for prolonged space flight may seem like science fiction, but for some animals it is simply a way of life! The ability to enter into a state of reversible metabolic dormancy is actually quite common in animals, and they use this trick of nature to escape from stressful environmental conditions or to synchronize reproduction with conditions that are favorable to successfully raising their young. While a wide diversity of animals utilize metabolic dormancy, there are only a handful of unifying principles that they all seem to use to support survival of what is probably very much a “near-death” experience.
In this talk, professor of Biology Jason Podrabsky will outline the many examples of how animals employ metabolic dormancy to survive in some of the most extreme environments on Earth such as the Polar oceans and deserts of Africa and South America. He will talk specifically about his research on annual killifish that survive in temporary pools in the coastal deserts of Venezuela where they can survive for months without water and oxygen. He will discuss how these fish may inform us on engineering human cells and possibly even how humans can enter into metabolic dormancy.
Jason E. Podrabsky, Ph.D. is professor and chair of the Department of Biology at Portland State University, and a member of the PSU Center for Life in Extreme Environments. He grew up in Sweet Home, Oregon and received his Bachelor of Science degree from Oregon State University in 1993. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental, Population, and Organismic Biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder, and went on to do postdoctoral studies at Hopkins Marine Station of Stanford University. He happily returned to Oregon in 2003 to take a position at PSU. When not working, he enjoys outdoor activities with his family and friends such as canoeing and camping. He is also a bonsai enthusiast and the proud caretaker of a menagerie of pets both aquatic and terrestrial.
Science Pub Hillsboro is a monthly event open to anyone aged 21+ (or minor with adult). No RSVP or scientific background required. Just bring your curiosity, sense of humor, and appetite for food, drinks, and knowledge!
$5.00 suggested cover charge. Tell your friends. We hope to see you there!
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