Department of Biology
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MATTHEW T. ANDREWS, McKnight Presidential Professor of Biology; Director, Bio-Translational Research Center
Mat Andrews

B.S., 1979, University of Michigan Ann Arbor
Ph.D., 1984, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit

Office: 253D SSB
Phone: 218-726-7271

Research Interests

Genetic factors controlling mammalian hibernation

Research in my laboratory is directed toward the characterization of genes responsible for the induction and maintenance of hibernation in mammals. Hibernating mammals provide a unique system for identifying molecules that are important in regulating metabolism, body temperature and food intake. In a state of deep hibernation, body temperature is only a few degrees above 0°C, oxygen consumption holds at 1/30 to 1/50 of the aroused condition and heart rate can be as low as 3-10 beats/minute, compared to 300-400 beats/minute when the animal is awake and active. We are currently using RNAseq to identify genes that are responsible for the physiological characteristics of hibernation in the thirteen-lined ground squirrel Ictidomys tridecemlineatus.

Hibernation is seen in a wide-range of taxa including rodents, carnivores, insectivores, bats and even primates. Since the majority of species within these groups do not hibernate, it has been proposed that hibernation results from the differential expression of genes common to all mammals rather than the evolution of new genes unique to the hibernating species. Determining the function of gene products involved in hibernation is one of the main goals of the laboratory and has applications in the areas of hypothermia, ischemia/reperfusion injury, cardiac function and organ preservation. A transgenic approach examining mechanistic aspects of hibernation can be found at:


TV interview on hibernation

Nature's Fat-Burning Machine


Recent Publications

  • Vermillion, K.L., Anderson, K.J., Hampton, M. and Andrews, M.T. (2015) Gene expression changes controlling distinct adaptations in the heart and skeletal muscle of a hibernating mammal. Physiol. Genomics, 47, 58-74.
  • Schwartz, C., Hampton, M. and Andrews, M.T. (2015) Hypothalamic gene expression underlying pre-hibernation satiety. Genes, Brain and Behavior, 14, 310-318.
  • Heinis, F.I., Vermillion, K.L., Andrews, M.T. and Metzger, J.M. (2015) Myocardial performance and adaptive energy pathways in a torpid mammalian hibernator. Am. J. Physiol., 309, R368-377.
  • Schwartz, C., Ballinger, M.A. and Andrews M.T. (2015) Melatonin receptor signaling contributes to neuroprotection upon arousal from torpor in thirteen-lined ground squirrels. Am. J. Physiol., DOI: 10.1152/ajpregu.00292.2015.
  • Vermillion, K.L., Jagtap, P., Johnson, J.E., Griffin, T.J., and Andrews, M.T. (2015) Characterizing cardiac molecular mechanisms of mammalian hibernation via quantitative proteogenomics. J. Proteome Res., DOI: 10.1021/acs.jproteome.5b00575.
  • Hampton, M., Melvin, R.G. and Andrews, M.T. (2013) Transcriptomic analysis of brown adipose tissue across the physiological extremes of natural hibernation. PLoS One 8, e85157.
  • Schwartz, C., Hampton, M. and Andrews, M.T. (2013) Seasonal and regional differences in gene expression in the brain of a hibernating mammal. PLoS One 8, e58427.
  • Schwartz, C. and Andrews, M.T. (2013) Circannual Transitions in gene expression: lessons from seasonal adaptations. In Ann E. Rougvie, Michael B. O'Connor, editors: Developmental Timing. Current Topics in Developmental Biology 105, 247-274.
  • Nelson, B.T., Ding, X., Gerard, R.D., Kliewer, S.A. and Andrews, M.T. (2013) Metabolic hormone FGF21 is induced in ground squirrels during hibernation but its overexpression is not sufficient to cause torpor. PLoS One 8 (1), e53574.



  • BIOL 4199 Frontiers in Cell Biology
  • BIOL 4231 Molecular Biology


Postdoctoral Associates

  • Duane Allen - Ph.D., Oregon Health and Sciences University, Portland
  • Jessica Sieber - Ph.D., University of Oklahoma


Current Graduate Students

  • Kyle Anderson - B.S., University of Wyoming
  • Clair Hess - B.S., University of Minnesota Duluth


Undergraduate Researchers

  • Anton Sauer
  • Alex Theis
  • Nicole Voit
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Last modified on 11/09/15 01:11 PM
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