University of North Dakota Faculty/Staff Newsletter

Biology faculty candidate seminar set for Jan. 27

Tristan Darland, a candidate for the Animal Physiology position in the Biology Department, will present a seminar titled "Using Zebrafish to Model the Physiology, Behavior and Genetics of Addiction" at noon Friday, Jan. 27, in 141 Starcher Hall.

Darland received his Ph.D. from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1998. He started out working on a developmental biology project, immortalizing cells from Hensen's node, and then switched to the lab of David Grandy after his initial advisor left for the NIH. He completed his thesis on the role of a neuropeptide called orphanin FQ, also called nociceptin, in opiate addiction. He did post-doctoral work at Harvard in the lab of John Dowling in order to learn the zebrafish system because of the genetics, accessibility of the embryo, and the fact that they readily regenerated damaged nervous tissue. He began a project using forward genetics and looking for neural stem cell mutants. Along the way he developed a screen for behavioral responsiveness to cocaine. He is currently characterizing some mutant fish with abnormal response to cocaine, and studying acute effects of the drug on cardiovascular physiology, behavior, and gene expression in the brain. He is also studying longitudinal physiological and behavioral effects caused by early exposure to the drug. He hopes to tie these studies to human addiction by looking at polymorphisms in the local North Dakota population.

Everyone is welcome to attend.

-- Jeannie Lewis, office manager, Biology, 777-2622, jeannie.lewis@email.und.edu.


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