Dr. Patricia Lopes

Andrew Hatch
Prof. Raskin
Neuroscience Across the Curriculum
19 November 2015
Dr. Patricia Lopes Research Presentation
Instantly I found myself stuck by the fact micro organism interact— I probably know that they did, but Dr. Lopes electron microscope images made it all the more real. The topic of social interaction while suffering from illness was fascinating and something I believe Trinity students would enjoy researching. Her research into the role disease has in our social environment, initially conducted in mice, had variables easily convertible to human subjects.
I found Dr. Lopes’ introduction of sick behaviors and subsequent conversation to have significant parallels in the “human world”; most noticeable was slowing of movement and resting behavior. Curiously, she spoke about how these behaviors are integral to the survival of the individual and remain conserved across species. These behaviors, while not essential (in most cases) in the human species, are highly encouraged and also appear to be “hard-wired.”
Perhaps of the greatest interest for me was Dr. Lopes’ research of mating behavior of “sick” zebra fish. In her experiment, Dr. Lopes was able to extract the lipopolysaccharide membrane of a pathogen and inject it into lab animals, producing an inflammatory response without actually making the animal sick: the test subjects showed the classic sick behaviors, despite being perfectly healthy. Across all subjects, male or female, a general drop in activity was noticed.
While alone, males remained near sessile but when a female was introduced they started to get very active and moved around the cage and a majority of the males engaged in courtship behavior, including a call and dance. An increase in activity was true for most animals tested but not all and may correlate to a level of sickness—possible further research?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *