128F Kidder Hall



B.S., 1979, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, Michigan, Ph.D., 1984, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, Michigan


PubMed Citations

2011 TV Interview on Hibernation (select segment from right hand panel)

2014 MPR story on "Nature's Fat-Burning Machine"

Research Interests

Genetic factors controlling mammalian hibernation

Research in my laboratory is directed toward the characterization of genes responsible for the induction and maintenance of hibernation in mammals. Hibernating mammals provide a unique system for identifying molecules that are important in regulating metabolism, body temperature and food intake. In a state of deep hibernation body temperature is only a few degrees above 0°C, oxygen consumption holds at 1/30 to 1/50 of the aroused condition and heart rate can be as low as 3-10 beats/minute, compared to 300-400 beats/minute when the animal is awake and active. We are currently using RNAseq and proteomics to identify genes and proteins that are responsible for the physiological characteristics of hibernation in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

Hibernation is seen in a wide-range of taxa including rodents, carnivores, insectivores, bats and even primates. Since the majority of species within these groups do not hibernate, it has been proposed that hibernation results from the differential expression of genes common to all mammals rather than the evolution of new genes unique to the hibernating species. Determining the function of gene products involved in hibernation is one of the main goals of the laboratory and has applications in the areas of hypothermia, ischemia/reperfusion injury, cardiac function and organ preservation. A transgenic approach examining mechanistic aspects of hibernation can be found at:

Recent Publication

  • Ballinger, M.A. and Andrews, M.T.  (2018) Nature's fat-burning machine: brown adipose tissue in a hibernating mammal.  J Exp Biol. 221, jeb162586.
  • Ballinger, M.A., Schwartz, C., and Andrews, M.T. (2017) Enhanced oxidative capacity of ground squirrel brain mitochondria during hibernation. Am J Physiol312, R301-R310.
  • Perez de Lara Rodriguez, C.E., Drewes, L.R., and Andrews, M.T. (2017) Hibernation-based blood loss therapy increases survivability of lethal hemorrhagic shock in rats. J Comp Physiol B. 187, 769-778.
  • Ballinger, M.A., Hess, C., Napolitano, M.W., Bjork, J.A., and Andrews, M.T. (2016) Seasonal changes in brown adipose tissue mitochondria in a mammalian hibernator: from gene expression to function. Am J Physiol., doi:10.1152/ajpregu.00463.2015.
  • Cooper, S.T., Sell, S.S., Fahrenkrog, M., Wilkinson, K., Howard, D.R., Bergen, H., Cruz, E., Cash, S.E., Andrews, MT, and Hampton, M. (2016) Effects of hibernation on bone marrow transcriptome in thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Physiol Genomics. doi:10.1152/physiolgenomics.00120.2015.
  • Anderson, K.J., Vermillion, K.L., Jagtap, P., Johnson, J.E., Griffin, T.J., and Andrews, M.T. (2016) Proteogenomic analysis of a hibernating mammal indicates contribution of skeletal muscle physiology to the hibernation phenotype. J. Proteome Res., 15, 1253-1261.
  • Vermillion, K.L., Jagtap, P., Johnson, J.E., Griffin, T.J., and Andrews, M.T. (2015) Characterizing cardiac molecular mechanisms of mammalian hibernation via quantitative proteogenomics. J. Proteome Res., 14, 4792-4804.
  • Schwartz, C., Ballinger, M.A. and Andrews M.T. (2015) Melatonin receptor signaling contributes to neuroprotection upon arousal from torpor in thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Am. J. Physiol., 309, R1292-1300.
  • Schwartz, C., Hampton, M. and Andrews, M.T. (2015) Hypothalamic gene expression underlying pre-hibernation satiety.Genes, Brain and Behavior, 14, 310-318.
  • Vermillion, K.L., Anderson, K.J., Hampton, M. and Andrews, M.T. (2015) Gene expression changes controlling distinct adaptations in the heart and skeletal muscle of a hibernating mammal. Physiol. Genomics, 47, 58-74.
  • Heinis, F.I., Vermillion, K.L., Andrews, M.T. and Metzger, J.M. (2015) Myocardial performance and adaptive energy pathways in a torpid mammalian hibernator.  Am. J. Physiol., 309, R368-377.