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Endocannabinoid Regulation of Bone Metabolism in Hibernating Marmots

One of the goals of comparative physiology is to understand how different physiological systems impact each other. Endocannabinoids are signaling molecules derived from fatty acids that appeared early in evolution and play important roles in regulating numerous physiological processes including those that are altered in hibernation such as bone, fat, and energy metabolism. The research aims to understand how endocannabinoid signaling by fat cells affects bone remodeling in obese, but otherwise healthy hibernating marmots. The planned studies will provide research experiences for undergraduate students to prepare them for advanced education and careers in science. The educational outreach component of this award will help students understand how diet and exercise affect fat accumulation and overall health of organisms. It will also elucidate how some animals have evolved physiological systems that prevent disease during states of obesity and physical inactivity. It will develop an interactive exhibit for K-12 students to explore the differences between the metabolism and physical activity of a hibernating animal and themselves. It will develop research kits for middle school students to measure and understand the calorie content of specific foods. It will also develop a presentation on the unique physiological adaptations in hibernators to underserved K-5 students. The CSU STEM Center served as the evaluators for this project.

Status: Ended

PI: Seth Donahue

PI Institution: Colorado State University

Source of Funding: NSF

Funding Program: Physiolg Mechansms&Biomechancs

Award Amount: $455,151

Start Date: 03/01/2016

End Date: 08/31/2018

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