Program PhD Students
Hope C Ball
Title: IB PhD Student
Office: ASEC B203
My research is interested in probing how the peptide hormone leptin functions in two species of Arctic adapted cetaceans: the bowhead and beluga whale. Leptin functions in a plethora of physiological pathways such as reproduction, immune system function and bone remodeling, but the majority of studies focus on the role of leptin in the regulation of energy metabolism and fat storage. In brief, leptin is produced by adipose (fat) cells and circulates in the blood and binding to receptors in the brain that either up-regulate or down-regulate the expression of genes regulating metabolic processes depending on the signal received. The two species of cetacean used in my studies produce large volumes of subcutaneous fat (blubber). For this reason, I’m interested in examining leptin expression profiles in these cetaceans and am currently developing methods to quantify the expression of leptin and several leptin-related genes.
Duff RJ, Ball H, Lavrentyev PJ (2008) Application of combined morphological-molecular approaches to the identification of planktonic protists from environmental samples. J Euk Microbiol 55: 306-312
Liu, Q., Copeland, D., Ball, H., Duff, R.J., Rockich, B. and Londraville, R. (2010) Expression of leptin receptor gene in developing and adult zebrafish. General and Comparative Endocrinology 166: 346-355.
B.S., Biology The University of Akron, 2002; M.S., Biology, The University of Akron, 2004