Department of Comparative Biosciences
Matthew has recently moved to Madison to work with UW’s Dr. Hannah Carey, a world-renowned hibernation expert. Together, they are exploring the metabolic tricks that allow some animals to hibernate for months at a time, including how the hibernator’s gut microbiome may contribute to this amazing adaptation. He is also working with NASA researchers to better understand how inducing hibernation-like states in astronauts may offset some of the major challenges of long-duration human spaceflight. Prior to moving to Madison, he completed a PhD at the University of British Columbia where he investigated the metabolic traits that allow certain fish species to survive prolonged time periods with little to no oxygen, one of which is entering a hibernation-like state. Outside of science, he is a multi-instrumentalist songwriter and is passionate about space, airplanes, and travel.
Hibernation is an amazing survival strategies that allows animals to survive months of freezing temperatures without food. This talk explains what hibernation is, why some animals do it and other don’t, and the metabolic tricks that allow hibernators to use it.
Inducing a hibernation-like state in astronauts would simultaneously protect them from the harmful space environment (e.g., radiation) and improve mission logistics via reduced spacecraft size and mass. This talk explains how NASA, ESA, and other space agencies may go about this.
Humans, like all animals on earth, rely on oxygen for survival. But while humans can last only a few minutes without oxygen, some animals can last many months. This talk explains what makes oxygen so important to survival, and how some specialized animals have developed ways to go without it.