Human & Animal Health

Investigating Age-Related Muscle Mass Loss with Arik Davidyan, ’14 B.S. in Exercise Biology and ’20 Ph.D. in Molecular, Cellular and Integrative Physiology

April 23, 2020
Summary
  • Skeletal muscles decay with age, a natural process known as sarcopenia 
  • During his time at UC Davis, alum Arik Davidyan investigated testosterone's role in muscle mass gain, maintenance and decay
  • Today, Davidyan is a postdoctoral fellow at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, where he investigates the role mitochondrial dysfunction plays in aging

Your muscles ensure your survival.

Bumblebees Carry Heavy Loads in Economy Mode

February 05, 2020

Written by Andy Fell

Bumblebees are the big lifters of the insect world, able to fly back to the hive with almost their own body weight in nectar on board. A study published Feb. 5 in Science Advances shows how they do it — and that bees can show more flexibility in behavior than you might expect from a bumbling insect. 

Discovering Curiosity: Brain Puzzles with UC Davis Center for Neuroscience Director Kimberley McAllister

August 16, 2019
Quick Summary
  • Kimberley McAllister studies the developing brain
  • Part of her research focuses on why viral infection during pregnancy can increase the likelihood of a child developing autism and schizophrenia
  • McAllister was named director of the UC Davis Center for Neuroscience in 2018, becoming the first female to occupy the role

Puzzles always fascinated UC Davis Center for Neuroscience Director Kimberley McAllister. They’re initially what attracted her to science.

Engineering a Balanced Diet? Hormone FGF21 Promotes Protein Preference

May 13, 2019

To function daily, your body gleans energy from three food-derived macronutrients: carbohydrates, fats and proteins. How you divvy up those macronutrients in your diet is a matter of personal preference.

But what if you could train your brain to prefer one macronutrient over the other?

Discovering Curiosity: Fighting Neuromuscular Disorders with New Faculty Lucas Smith

April 05, 2019
Quick Summary
  • Assistant Professor Lucas Smith studies neuromuscular disorders, like cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy
  • Smith explores how scar tissue accumulation, which is seen in these conditions, affects muscle mechanics
  • He wants to find ways to increase the expression of proteins that can alleviate overly stiff muscles

In debilitating neuromuscular disorders, like muscular dystrophies and cerebral palsy, the body’s muscles scar, turning fibrotic and stiff. These skele

Social Bee-stortion: Exploring Pesticide’s Effects on Pollinators

November 08, 2018
Quick Summary
  • Researchers observed the effects of imidacloprid, a pesticide, on bumblebee behaviors within the hive
  • To study this hidden world, they outfitted bumblebees with tiny QR code tags and tracked individuals with video
  • They found imidacloprid disrupts nest behavior, causing reduced growth in exposed colonies 

A pesticide banned in the European Union but still in use in the United States is proving to have detrimental effects on pollinators.

Discovering Curiosity: Erwin Bautista Leads the Classroom

July 05, 2018

When Erwin Bautista, a lecturer in the Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior, looks at the human body, he doesn’t see just the individual parts—the cells, organs, tissues, muscles and bones—he sees the sum.

“Whenever I teach things, I always tell students that physiologists love acronyms,” said Bautista. “We love naming things; we love all these itty-bitty points and details. But at the same time, we also love the big picture, and we’re going to try to impress upon you the big picture.”

Discovering Curiosity: Age-Related Hearing Loss with Gregg Recanzone

June 06, 2018

As our bodies age, we all face some decline in our senses, and among the senses most susceptible to deterioration is hearing.

Hearing loss is a substantial problem for society. It’s the third most common physical condition after arthritis and heart disease and about 30 percent of adults between ages 65 and 74 and nearly half of people over 75 experience some difficulty hearing.  It’s a social problem, one that can lead to isolation and depression.