"Life in a Fluctuating Environment and the Fluctuations of Life"
From gene sequence to morphology, animals are well adapted to the environments in which they evolved. Non-model organisms that reside in extreme environments are particularly attractive study subjects for comparative physiologists. While model organisms allow for the monitoring of life's fluctuations. Understanding the mechanisms by which nature deals with chronic perturbations helps to understand constraints on biological processes, and how those limits are manifested in more broad characteristics such as growth, reproduction, survival and evolution. The marine environment possesses some of the most extreme and variable habitats in the world such as high temperatures of hydrothermal vents, severely cold Antarctic waters, high pressures of the deep sea and the fluctuating, unpredictable intertidal zone. Organisms residing in these environments have specialized cellular strategies that help them deal with these extremes, such as variation in protein structure, membrane function and gene expression. Whilst, understanding how organisms age in constant environments help us understand how life is orchestrated at the axis of time and the environment. My passion in research is to understand how physical and biological variables within extreme environment shape organismal molecular and biochemical systems over temporal scales. I am interested in understanding how physiological systems are perturbed by extreme events and what cellular activities are called upon to maintain organism homeostasis and enhance survival throughout the aging process.
Phenotypic flexibility—an organism’s reversible response to environmental change—bridges ecology and evolution because an organism’s response to environmental flux is ultimately determined by its genetic code. Settlement, growth, survival and reproduction are important factors in the persistence of populations and the primary biological functions driving these factors are the acquisition and utilization of energy. Therefore, building a mechanistic framework that underlies these functions will serve as crucial knowledge about the persistence of life in extreme environments. The construction of this framework requires an integrative approach that probes more than one level of biological organization, including genetics, gene expression, enzyme activity, organelle function and behavior; a truly physiological genomics approach.
Kwasi Connor joined the faculty of UC-Irvine in 2019 as a member of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. His research primarily focuses on the relationships between the environment and physiology using integrative approaches.
Dr. Connor spends a lot of time recruiting students of color into the sciences as well as being proactive in trying to make sure women of all backgrounds have equal opportunities and individual support. Click here to learn more about Dr. Connors' amazing Lab Personnel
Kwasi Connor joined the faculty of UC-Irvine in 2019 as a member of the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department. Find out more about the Department by exploring their website and visiting the pages of individual faculty where they describe their research interest in detail.