Hormones secreted by the thyroid gland are of primary importance in the regulation of such fundamental physiological processes as growth, nutrient utilization, and reproduction. In my laboratory we examine the regulation of the secretion of thyroid hormones and their actions in poikilothermic vertebrates in order to understand the evolution of thyroid function. We are presently focusing on the regulation on thyroid hormone secretion and the mechanisms of iodine transport in commercially-important fish species such as the red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), the channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), and even the zebrafish (Danio rerio).
This research is aimed at providing new insights into the potentially ancient role of thyroid hormones in nutrient assimilation, as well as elucidating evolutionary trends in the regulation of thyroid function. These studies may serve identify ways in which the pituitary-thyroid axis may be manipulated to enhance aquaculture production or endangered species conservation.