Mr Kevin Adamson


Research skills

RNA and DNA extraction, PCR

Gene cloning


In situ Hybridisation

Western Blot

Immunocytochemical localisation

Research rationale

Hypometabolism is a state of reduced metabolism entered into by a wide variety of both vertebrate and invertebrate animals in times of severe environmental stress. Fundamental gaps exist in our understanding of the gene and neurohormone responses that underlie hypometabolism. Hibernation from cold and aestivation from heat are two states of hypometabolism that provide excellent physiological models to identify the basic molecular principles that define hypometabolism in animals. The model animal we will use to understand the role of neurohormones in hypometabolism is Theba pisana, an aestivating land snail that has become a significant agricultural pest worldwide. A comprehensive molecular investigation of metabolic suppression leading to aestivation, when compared with periods of activity, will help clarify precisely what are the gene and extracellular neurohormones that trigger hypometabolism and maintain aestivation.

Research objectives

To determine the extent that metabolic rate is depressed in the snail T. pisana during aestivation.

To identify genes expressed in the Theba central nervous system (CNS) that encode neurohormones.

To determine which neurohormone genes and their products are up- or down-regulated to control aestivation.

To determine when and where these neurohormone genes are expressed and their products secreted?

To determine the functions of candidate aestivation neurohormones.

To investigate other factors which may regulate aestivation (eg. Small RNAs).