Webinar: Flies in a Mine – How the fruit fly will make deep underground mining a healthier place
Speaker: Dr. Thomas Merritt
Dr. Thomas Merritt is a Canada Research Chair in Genomics and Bioinformatics at Laurentian University in Sudbury, ON. Broadly, his research involves using genomics and bioinformatics to investigate the connection between genotypes and phenotypes. This research will lead to a better understanding of molecular complexity and protein function.
Dr. Merritt is working on a research project using the fruit fly model system to understand the metabolic changes and underlying physiology associated with working deep underground. In collaboration with Vale and the SNOLAB, metabolic responses are being quantified from flies that have been exposed to deep underground conditions (~2km underground). Initial results show changes in metabolism are substantial and widespread. The ultimate goal is to reduce the physiological stress of working deep underground. Because of their small size, genetic diversity, and shared biochemistry and genetics, flies are an ideal model system to use to better understand the changes that occur in humans. These research results will ultimately allow researchers to make suggestions regarding diet and hydration to help improve worker health and safety when working deep underground.