COLLEGE STATION – The inaugural symposium “Evolution of Stress: From the Genome to Disease” held at Texas A&M University on Oct. 8-9 explored current knowledge of stress research and how it can be used to improve human, animal and plant health.
The symposium was hosted by the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society (TIGSS) and attended by several faculty and students from the Department of Animal Science.
Current research continues to unravel the biological and genetic origins of the stress response with the goal of reducing its negative impact while still maintaining its evolutionary benefits, said Dr. Tom Welsh, Texas A&M AgriLife Research Faculty Fellow, professor in the Department of Animal Science and event organizer. Dr. David Threadgill, director of the Texas A&M Institute for Genome Sciences and Society at Texas A&M, also served as event organizer.
Dr. Robert Sapolsky of Stanford University provided the keynote presentation, “Why zebras don’t get ulcers: stress and health,” and met with undergraduate, graduate and postdoctoral students. Sapolsky is a MacArthur Genius Fellow, John A. and Cynthia Fry Funn Professor of Biology and Professor of Neurology and Neurosurgery at Stanford University.
Research regarding genetic and biological aspects of stress in animals, plants and humans was also presented by Dr. Moshe Szyf, McGill University Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics; Dr. Jack Wood, The Ohio State University Department of Physiology and Cell Biology and Department of Internal Medicine; Dr. Steve Hursting, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill Department of Nutrition; Dr. Jeff Carroll, USDA Agricultural Research Service – Lubbock; Dr. Mary Meagher, Texas A&M Department of Psychology; Dr. Mahua Choudhury, Texas A&M Health Science Center Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences – Kingsville; Dr. Marty Dickman, Texas A&M Department of Plant Pathology & Microbiology; Dr. Keith Young, Texas A&M Health Science Center Department of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science – Temple; and Dr. Ron Randel, Texas A&M AgriLife Research – Overton.
A total of 32 research posters were presented by trainees.
The event was co-sponsored by the Texas A&M One Heath Initiative project entitled “Genetic and Environmental Regulation of Metabolic Health,” which consists of a team of 26 faculty members from across the Texas A&M University System. The aim of the project is to improve one’s health by reduction of stress and obesity. Members of the Stress and Metabolic Health team from the Department of Animal Science include Dr. Gordon Carstens, Dr. Ron Randel, Dr. Penny Riggs, and Dr. Tom Welsh.
The following trainees with ties to Animal Science presented competitive posters:
- Brittni Littlejohn – doctoral student in physiology of reproduction working under the direction of Drs. Randel and Welsh presented, “Prenatal transportation stress alters temperament and serum cortisol concentrations in suckling Brahman calves.” Littlejohn won first place in the poster presentation competition and received a $1,000 travel award and a plaque.
- Amanda Bradbery – doctoral student in animal science working under the direction of Dr. Josie Coverdale presented, “Detection of Salmonella in equine facility environmental samples by two methods.”
- Elena Gart – doctoral student in veterinary pathobiology working under the direction of Drs. Sara Lawhon, Randel and Welsh presented, “The effect of weaning stress, sex and temperament on fecal microbiota in Brahman calves.”
- Maegan Mendoza – biochemistry undergraduate student working under the direction of Dr. Nancy Ing presented, “Dexamethasone acutely down-regulates master regulators of testosterone synthesis in stallion testes and in cultured Leydig cells.”
- Michael Miller – doctoral student in animal science working under the direction of Dr. Carstens presented, “Metabolic profiling for identification of biomarkers associated with temperament and stress in feedlot cattle.”
- Anita Snell – master’s candidate in physiology of reproduction working under the direction of Drs. Jason Banta, Randel, and Welsh presented, “Influence of sex and temperament on response to Salmonella Newport Extract vaccine in crossbred beef calves.”
For more information, visit Symposium discusses stress in animals, plants and humans.
For more information regarding news from the Department of Animal Science, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Texas A&M University, please contact Courtney Coufal at firstname.lastname@example.org or (979) 845-1542.