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Kristin O'Brien

Credit: 
Kristin O'Brien
Research Interests: 

Cold temperature poses a significant challenge to fish because as ectotherms, their body temperature conforms to environmental temperature. One of the greatest challenges imposed by life at cold temperature is maintaining the production of ATP because for every 10°C decrease in temperature there is an approximate two-fold decrease in the catalytic rate of enzymes, known as the Q10 effect.

Research in my laboratory is aimed at understanding how fish maintain energy production at cold temperature. One area of our research focuses on understanding how mitochondrial function and density changes in response to seasonal changes in temperature in the threespine stickleback, Gasterosteus aculeatus. A second focus of our research is understanding the unique adaptations that have arisen in Antarctic fishes that inhabit the chronically cold waters of the Southern Ocean.

Credit: 
Stuart Egginton
Kristin M. O'Brien
Associate Professor of Biology
Office: 
323E Margaret Murie Building
907-474-5311
Lab: 
318 Margaret Murie Building
907-474-7230
Postal Address: 
Institute of Arctic Biology
PO Box 757000
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7000
  • B.S. Zoology, Duke Unversity, 1990
  • Ph.D. Zoology, University of Maine, Orono, 1999
  • NIH NRSA Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder, Dept. of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, 1999 - 2004
  • 2010 - present, Associate Professor of Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2004 - 2010, Assistant Professor of Biology, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 2004 - present, Affiliate Associate Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Alaska Fairbanks
  • 1999 - 2004, Post-doctoral Fellow, University of Colorado, Boulder

2013

2012

2011

Kammer, A.R., Orczewska, J.I. & O'Brien, K.M., 2011. Oxidative stress is transient and tissue specific during cold acclimation of threespine stickleback. J Exp Biol, 214(Pt 8), pp.1248-56.
O’Brien, K.M., 2011. Mitochondrial biogenesis in cold-bodied fishes. Journal of Experimental Biology, 214, pp.275–285.

2010

Orczewska, J.I., Hartleben, G. & O’Brien, K.M., 2010. The molecular basis of aerobic metabolic remodeling differs between oxidative muscle and liver of threespine sticklebacks in response to cold acclimation. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology, 299, pp.R352-R364.
O’Brien, K.M. & Mueller, I.A., 2010. The Unique Mitochondrial Form and Function of Antarctic Channichthyid Icefishes. Integrative and Comparative Biology, Advance Access.

2009

2008

Pages

American Physiological Society

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology

  • 2014 - 2017 Collaborative research: The physiological and biochemical underpinnings of thermal tolerance in Antarctic notothenioid fishes. P.I., National Science Foundation
  • 2011 - 2014 Collaborative research: Redox balance in Antarctic notothenioid fishes; Do icefish have an advantage? P.I., National Science Foundation
  • 2008 - 2011: Collaborative research: Linkages among thermal tolerance and mitochondrial form and function in notothenioid fishes. P.I., National Science Foundation
  • 2007 - 2012: CAREER: The molecular mechanisms of cold-induced mitochondrial biogenesis. National Science Foundation
  • 2006 - 2007 The mitochondrion as a temperature sensor: Molecular mechanisms regulating cold-induced mitochondrial biogenesis in oxidative muscle of Gasterosteus aculeatus. AK EPSCoR
  • 2005 - 2008 Collaborative research: Differential expression of oxygen-binding proteins in Antarctic fishes affects nitric oxide- mediated pathways of angiogenesis and mitochondrial biogenesis. Co-PI, National Science Foundation
  • 2005 - 2007 Cellular protection against nitrosative stress. American Heart Association
  • BIOL 115 Fundamentals of Biology I  This course is an introduction to the principles of biology for science majors, with an emphasis on the chemistry of life, cell structure and function, molecular biology, metabolism and physiology. 
  • BIOL 360/ CHEM 360 Cell and Molecular Biology In this course we investigate how cells function. Topics include how cells use the information encoded in DNA to produce RNA and proteins, cell signaling, oxidative phosphorylation, photosyntheisis, protein sorting, cell division, cancer, aging, and the molecular basis of disease.  
  • BIOL 363/MATH 693 Synthetic Biology Students in this course will couple molecular biological techniques and computer modeling of biological systems to design and construct a novel synthetic microorganism. 
Current Graduate Students (More info)
  • Anna Rix
Past Graduate Students

Corey Oldham, M.S. 2016

Kelly Keenan, M.S. 2015

Laura Teigen, M.S. 2014

Irina Mueller, Ph.D. 2012

Julieanna Orczewska, M.S. 2011

Aaron Kammer, M.S. 2010

Matt Urschel, M.S. 2009

 

 

 

 

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