Biology Department
DW Reynolds 230
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Dr. Jenn Dearolf

I have a longstanding interest in vertebrate biology, specifically how mammals, both neonates and adults, interact with their environment. One of the main ways that animals engage their surroundings is through movement. Movement, in turn, is accomplished through the interaction of muscles with an animal's skeletal system, and thus, I have chosen to study muscle biology.

Currently, the work in my lab is focused on breathing muscles. We are studying the construction of the diaphragm and scalenus muscles in cetaceans (whales, dolphins, and porpoises) to determine how these muscles power the explosive breathing of these animals and also allow them to breath-hold dive. The other studies in the lab are investigations of guinea pig breathing muscle development and the effects of prenatal steroids on this process. Characteristics that we are investigating include: fiber-type profiles (percent slow- and fast-twitch fibers), fiber diameters, oxidative enzyme activities, myoglobin concentrations, and myosin heavy and light chain protein expression. In addition, we are beginning physiological testing studies to determine the functional effects of prenatal steroids on the treated breathing muscles.


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Olivia Sims
McKenzie Stribling


Nature, they say, has caused the
Dolphin to be in perpetual motion,
and for the Dolphin, motion ends
with the end of life