The Glaberman Lab uses evolutionary biology as a basis for understanding animal function and how species respond to their environment, including to stressors such as pollutants. We work across all levels of biological organization, from genes and cells to whole organisms to populations and ecosystems. Please see below for more information about each of our research program.
Animal Responses to Environmental Stress
Species responses to environmental stressors can be determined by many factors including genotype and gene expression, physiology, behavior, and life history. Most of our research examines how variation within and between species leads to different levels of susceptibility to stress. We consider a wide variety of stressors from pollutants to climate change. We are ultimately interested in developing biomarkers and models that use key difference among species to predict how a given species will respond to a particular stressor. Techniques that we use include phylogenetic comparative methods, gene/protein sequence analysis, physiological stress measures, behavioral measures, and toxicity assays.
- Using phylogenetic, gene/protein, and species life history data to build predictive toxicity models in animals (with the Chiari and Capellini Labs).
- Examining the use of species surrogacy in toxicology (with US EPA)
- Developing multi-species toxicity testing assays using nematodes.
- Study how species differences in thermal biology can help predict impacts to climate change in turtles (with the Chiari Lab).
- Linking physiological stress and parasitic disease rates in Galapagos marine iguanas.
- Monitoring within and between species differences in DNA damage from environmental stressors in turtles (with Amelia Technologies).
Evolution of Longevity and Cancer Resistance
We use reptile models to shed new light on mechanisms of longevity and cancer resistance in animals. Some reptiles are well known for their long life spans and large body sizes. In addition, most cancer research has focused on mammalian models. We combine clinical data on cancer incidence with genomic and functional genetic data to investigate the causes of such wide variation in reptile lifespan and size.
- Giant Tortoise Genome Project (with Yale University and the University of Oviedo in Spain)
- Functional genetic characterization of longevity drivers in Giant Tortoises (NSF-funded Project with the Chiari and Lynch Labs)