Shannon's CV


Shannon Gaukler


Research Interests

Many pharmaceuticals that have been approved safe for clinical use have later been found to cause deleterious health consequences. Currently, assays used to evaluate health affects of pharmaceuticals are at best organ or organ-system specific. These assays do not always account for the synergy between physiological systems and how small impacts in one system may have dramatic effects on another. When only specific systems are examined, the interactions between physiological systems are often overlooked.

I am interested in using our novel Organismal Performance Assay (OPA) to assess the health consequences of pharmaceutical drugs. Our OPA is a systems biology approach to examine health effects from many suspected harmful substances and is unique in that most physiological systems are tested synergistically. The OPA utilizes semi-natural enclosures in which wild mice (Mus musculus) compete amongst each other for territories and mates as they would if they were in their natural environment. Mice competing in this environment require high performance from most physiological systems to be successful individuals and establish social dominance. Measure of social dominance in our system can be measured by reproductive success, mortality rate and other fitness-associated patterns. Previous work in our lab has revealed deleterious health consequences from dietary fructose at a level far below other less sensitive systems as well as genetic treatments. I plan to use these methodologies to assess the health and fitness effects caused by the treatment of certain pharmaceutical drugs.