Other Research Interests

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In addition to these three main projects, I have a couple of other research interests, one that began with my Ph.D. dissertation work (McDonald et al., 2000, 2002a, 2002b, 2003) and the other that has evolved with my most recent research. Of the former, I continue to be interested in the kidney function in the family of batrachoidid fishes, which includes the gulf toadfish (McDonald and Grosell, 2006) and also its Pacific relative, the plainfin midshipman (Porichthys notatus) (McDonald and Walsh, 2007). This family of fishes has an aglomerular kidney, which is highly evolved to survive in the marine environment. This has osmoregulatory implications if the fish moves to a more dilute environment (McDonald and Grosell, 2006; McDonald, 2007). My work investigates the transport processes within this kidney and focuses on how urea enters the kidney tubule. My second peripheral research interest is that of 5-HT receptor physiology, essentially determining the physiological mechanism(s) that is/are associated with different 5-HT receptor subtypes in fish. While molecular evidence exists for the presence of most of the 5-HT receptors that have been described in mammals, the physiological roles for most of these receptors have not been elucidated in fish. To date, I have determined that stimulation of the 5-HT7 receptor results in changes in intestinal transepithelial potential of toadfish, likely due to modulations in Cl- secretion, which has implications for osmoregulation in fish. I began studying the gastrointestinal tract (GIT) after realizing that the GIT of vertebrates contains > 80% of the serotonergic activity in the body, making it a very important organ with respect to 5-HT receptor physiology. THTI have also characterized roles for the 5-HT2A and 5-HT2Breceptors in cardio-respiratory and vascular physiology, respectively (McDonald et al., 2010). This work came about after investigating whether the hypoxia response is involved in regulating pulsatile urea excretion in toadfish (McDonald et al., 2007).