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The Spinifex hopping mouse (Notomys alexis) is a native Australian rodent that has a number of behavioural and physiological mechanisms that allow it to survive the extreme temperatures and desiccation of the desert environment. Our previous research has shown that during periods without access to water, hopping mice have an unusual cyclical feeding pattern where appetite is suppressed followed by a significantly sustained food intake that exceeds that of animals with access to water. It is proposed that the increased food intake is required to generate metabolic water to maintain fluid homeostasis.
The focus of our research is to identify the mechanisms controlling appetite regulation and cellular metabolism in these unique animals, which may have important implications in the field of obesity research.
Projects from this group are studying aspects of leptin and ghrelin biology and the role of AMPK in energy balance during cyclical feeding in hopping mice.
Dr McLeod obtained her PhD in comparative physiology studying the role of the natriuretic peptide system in the amphibian brain in the School of Life and Environmental Sciences at Deakin University, Geelong. She completed a two year post doctoral position at the Children's Medical Research Institute in Sydney, where she investigated the role of a novel myogenic determination factor in muscle development. She returned to Geelong to take up a Senior Research Scientist position in the Douglas Hocking Research Institute at Barwon Health, where she worked on several projects including investigating the genetic properties of cord blood stem cells and a clinical study of a genetic condition - hereditary hyperferritinaemia-cataract syndrome in a local family. She has been in her current position as a Lecturer in Medical Biology in the School of Medicine since 2008, and member of the Molecular and Medical Research Group since 2009.
Dr Janet McLeod's Publications