The metabolic rate of cells determines everything from energy conversion capability to how cells cope with insults/stress, including infectious agents. Until recently, there was no high throughput means of establishing the metabolic effect of diverse cellular treatments and challenges, be they changes in nutritional status of the animal, hormonal changes or exposure to drugs or infectious agents. With over 20,000 genes, 200,000 proteins and thousands of pathways, it is not possible to measure everything in a cell at once, but it is now possible to measure the energy systems that drive them at a broad level. Previous in vitro methods have typically required techniques highly disruptive to cells, such as mitochondrial preparations, but more recently metabolic flux analysis has been developed, whereby it is possible to measure energy flux in live, intact cells in real time. Taking advantage of the recently acquired flux analyser at the Gatton Campus, this project will focus on the optimization of the underpinning methods and subsequent analysis, with a special focus on mitochondrial and glycolytic bioenergetics, in at least two settings: (i) the effect of various nutrients and/or drugs on cell metabolism in various organs of food producing animals (cattle, sheep, pigs, poultry), (ii) the effect of immunological stimuli and infectious agents on the metabolism of peripheral blood leukocytes of domestic animals.

Project members

Principal Supervisor:

Dr Nick Hudson

Senior Lecturer in Biochem & Met
School of Agriculture and Food Sciences

Associate Supervisor:

Dr Helle Bielefeldt-Ohmann