Cetacean Science Explained

Cetacean science is exciting, but it can be difficult to understand the technical language of original scientific publications.

Click on the articles below for easy-to-read, student written summaries of recently published scientific papers on cetacean evolution.

Deméré, T.A., McGowen, M.R., Berta, A., Gatesy. J. 2008. Morphological and molecular evidence for a stepwise evolutionary transition from teeth to baleen in mysticete whales. Systematic Biology 57:15–37

Fitzgerald, E.M.G. 2006. A bizarre new toothed mysticete (Cetacea) from Australia and the early evolution of baleen whales. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 273:2955-2963

Gingerich, P.D., ul-Haq, M., von Koenigswald, W., Sanders, W.J., Smith, B.H., Zalmout, I.S. 2009. New protocetid whale from the middle Eocene of Pakistan: birth on land, precocial development, and sexual dimorphism. PLoS ONE one 4: e4366. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0004366. Summary by J. Chang or Summary by R. Boessenecker.

Manger, P.R. 2006. An examination of cetacean brain structure with a novel hypothesis correlating thermogenesis to the evolution of a big brain. Biological Review 81: 293-338.

Marino, L., Butti, C., Connor, R.C., Fordyce, R.E., Herman, L.M., Hof, P.R., Lefebvre, L., Lussaeu, D., McCowan, B., Nimchinsky, E.A., Pack, A.A., Reidenberg, J.S., Reiss, D., Rendell, L., Uhen, M.D., Van der Gucht, E., Whitehead, H. 2008. A claim in search of evidence: reply to Manger's thermogenesis hypothesis of cetacean brain structure. Biological Review: 1-23.

Muizon, C. de,  Domning, D.P., Ketten, D.R. 2002. Odobenocetops peruvianus, the walrus-convergent delphinoid (Mammalia: Cetacea) from the early Pliocene of Peru. In Cenozoic mammals of land and sea, tributes to the career of Clayton E. Ray. Edited by Emry, R. E. Smithsonian Contributions to Paleobiology 93:185-222.


Subcellular Dysfunction in Heart Failure

Heart failure remains the leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide despite advancements in treatment. The Ojamaa Lab is using super-resolution microscopic imaging to study changes in Transverse-tubule networks within failing cardiac muscle cells that can lead to contractile dysfunction and poor cardiac performance. Various treatment strategies targeting these cellular processes are under investigation.

Principal Investigator: Kaie Ojamaa, Ph.D.


Molecular Mechanisms Mediating Renal Ischemia/Reperfusion Injury

Studies the molecular mechanisms by which renal ischemia/reperfusion injury leads to renal injury and renal failure. The goal of the research program is to identify potential targets for development of novel therapeutics to ameliorate or even block ischemia/reperfusion-induced renal damage.

Principal Investigator: Kurt Amsler, Ph.D.


Association Between Musculoskeletal Trauma and Parkinson’s Disease

Studies the role of prior head and body trauma, as well as musculoskeletal treatment history, on development of idiopathic Parkinson's disease.

Primary investigator: Reem Abu-Sbaih, D.O.


Interprofessional Health Education in Global Health and its Impact on Medical Education

Studies the impact of global health experiences on medical student education and their competency in tropical environments. Also studies the role of genetic testing in primary care settings and the competence of medical providers in offering these tests.

Principal Investigator: William Blazey, D.O.


Glucolipotoxicity and Mitochondrial Hormesis in Cardiometabolic Disorders

Studies the effects of excess of glucose and long-chain fatty acids on mitochondrial function and oxidative tone in adipose, renal and cardiovascular tissues.

Principal Investigator: Bardia Askari, Ph.D.


OMM and Biomarkers

Studies the effects of OMM on endocannabinoid levels.

Principal Investigator: George Cheriyan, D.O.


Health Awareness

Researches the physician's role in developing patient awareness and knowledge base related to the health implications of obesity, particularly with respect to physical activity and eating habits.

Primary investigator: Patricia Happel, D.O.


Effects of Exercise and Supplements in Students and Parkinson's Disease

Studies the effects of exercise and activity of medical students through (Fitbit devices). Studies lymphatic pump effects on improving functional outcomes and recovery in athletes. Also studies the effect of nicotine gum on blood pressure in Parkinson's disease subjects.

Principal Investigator: Joanne Donoghue, Ph.D.


Diabetes and Health Literacy

Studies the associations between health literacy, race, level of education, and diabetes knowledge in a suburban population with Type II diabetes

Principal Investigator(s): Sonia Rivera-Martinez, D.O.​; Karen Sheflin, D.O.


Metabolic Memory and Diabetic Vascular Complications

Studies the role of "metabolic memory" in the development of long-term vascular complications, including atherosclerosis, hypertension and stroke, in type 2 diabetes. The goal is to identify the linkage between epigenetic mechanisms and metabolic memory in diabetic vasculature.

Principal Investigator: Maria Alicia Carrillo Sepulveda, BSN, Ph.D.