Fudge Lab Members

Douglas Fudge

Dr. Fudge runs the Comparative Biomaterials Lab at Chapman University. As an undergraduate, he studied biology at Cornell University, followed by an M.A.T. in science education, also at Cornell. For his M.Sc. research, he worked on the biology of bluefin tuna at the University of Guelph, and then moved to the University of British Columbia for his Ph.D., where he worked on the biomechanics of hagfish slime in John Gosline’s lab. As an NSERC postdoctoral fellow, he worked on cell biomechanics in Wayne Vogl’s lab in the Faculty of Medicine at the University of British Columbia. He joined the faculty in the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph in 2005, where he worked until 2016.

Dr. Charlene McCord

Once thought to be mostly sedentary animals, recent studies have shed light onto the elegant and elaborate nature of hagfish locomotion. While I’m broadly interested in many aspects of hagfish biology and biodiversity, my current research focuses on the functional morphology and biomechanics of the numerous locomotor behaviors associated with the Pacific hagfish’s ability to squeeze into and navigate through architecturally complex environments.

Dr. Gaurav Jain

Gaurav Jain is a postdoctoral fellow at the comparative biomaterials lab at Chapman University. His work is focussed on the exploring biophysical and biochemical properties of slime for biomedical applications.

Sarah Schorno

Sarah Schorno is a PhD candidate at the University of Guelph
Her graduate work is focused on examining the dynamics of hagfish slime thread production and assembly in the gland thread cell (GTC).

List of publications:

Icardo, J.M., Colvee, E., Schorno, S.*, Lauriano, E.R., Fudge, D.S., Glover, C.N., and Zaccone, G. (2015). Morphological analysis of the hagfish heart. I. The ventricle, the arterial connection and the ventral aorta. Journal of Morphology.

Newman, A.E.M., Edmunds, N., Ferraro, S., Heffell, Q., Merrit, G.M., Pakkala, J.J., Schilling, C., and Schorno, S.* (2015). Using ecology to inform physiology studies: implications of high population density in the laboratory. American Journal of Physiology – Regulatory, Integrative and Comparative Physiology. ajpregu-00328.

Fudge, D.S., Schorno, S.*, and Ferraro, S. (2014). Physiology, biomechanics and biomimetics of hagfish slime. Annual Review of Biochemistry. annurev-biochem-060614-034048.

Lauren Friend

My research aims to understand hagfish locomotion and how it changes depending on their physical environment. We are using kinematic software to analyze videos of hagfish moving in a variety of experimental conditions.

Kashika Singh

I am working on a project that aims to understand the mechanisms that stabilize the coiled slime threads that are produced within hagfish slime glands, and also the mechanisms that cause them to unravel when they are released from the gland.

Emma Whiteley

My research project focuses on Pacific hagfish anesthesia. Specifically, the project seeks to identify the optimal anesthetic, its dosage, and protocols that can reduce anesthetic induction time, recovery time, and distress experienced by the hagfish. The collected data is used to generate dose-response curves are for three common fish anesthetics: clove oil, 2-phenoxyethanol, and MS-222.

Stacey Zuppa

Hagfishes have incredibly unique locomotor abilities including tying themselves into knots, squeezing through holes up to half their body diameter, and traveling through channels equivalent to their body diameter. Very little is known about how hagfishes are able to travel through tight channels, such as those they encounter while burrowing into the ocean floor or traveling through carcasses. In my research, I am investigating how hagfishes are able to move through these tight channels using pre-set channel widths and a customized hagfish maze. The hagfish are filmed moving through both of these and the videos are later analyzed to understand the movements associated with traveling through such a tight channel. This research helps to provide greater insight into the behavior and ecology of hagfishes, as well as broaden our knowledge of movements through tight spaces which might be applied to robotics.

Dylan Blumberg

My research project centers around hagfish exudate deployment in seawater. I’m trying to better understand the mechanism of how milliliters of exudate can turn into liters of slime, and how the components of the exudate interact with force to form the complex network.

Ramteen Rafii

I am studying the mechanism in which hagfish slime is formed. I do this by collecting fresh exudate from a hagfish and mixing it with seawater under controlled conditions, while filming it all on a high speed camera for observation.

Sara Siwiecki

My project focuses on understanding the mechanism of stabilization and swelling of mucin vesicles, a critical component of hagfish slime. The swelling may be dependent on the charge of mucin vesicles, so I am working to discover the charge and composition of mucin vesicles to better understand their swelling dynamics.

Marie Starksen

I am studying the effects of trimethylamines on Pacific hagfish skein unraveling, as these are suspected of being involved in skein stabilization within the slime glands.

Justin Nako

I am currently working with the locomotion group to study the types of swimming/movement patterns hagfish display. Specifically I am working on video and data analysis which will give us information on velocity, acceleration, forces, and other kinematics involved with hagfish swimming.

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