My research focuses on the regulation of metabolism in animals. Lower vertebrates, especially fish, are the model used to study how animals cope with metabolic disequilibrium that results from different physiological states (exercise and stress) or changing environments (oxygen, temperature, ammonia, and anthropogenic pollutants).
The maintenance of a delicate energy balance is a constant challenge any organism must face in order to survive. This intricate metabolic regulation allows organisms to maintain an equilibrium between energy demand and supply. In higher organisms, such as those in the animal kingdom, the fine tuning of the various functions over the course of evolution has been partially achieved through the compartmentalization of the system. In essence, it is vital to maintain an efficient energy distribution and re-distribution system among different tissues, cells, and sub-cellular organelles. Glycolysis is an ancient metabolic pathway present in essentially all organisms. Lactate, the end-product of anaerobic glycolysis, is formed when tissues must function under oxygen limiting conditions. Some tissues, such as muscle, red blood cells and tumor cells, rely heavily on this pathway to generate ATP even under normal physiological conditions. Lactate can also be taken up and utilized by a wide variety of tissues and is thus considered to be an important metabolic intermediate substrate rather than just an anaerobic end-product. In fish, lactate metabolism and transport are handled differently in comparison to mammals. My research will shed light on the molecular and physiological regulation of the transmembrane lactate transport system and its links to other metabolites.