The Secor Laboratory of Evolutionary and Integrative Physiology

at the University of Alabama




Those who have ventured to our laboratory:



Rachel Carmody

As a graduate student with Richard Wrangham in the Anthropology Department at Harvard University, Rachel spent a week with us during the Summer of 2006. She assisted in a joint project between our two laboratories to examine whether cooking and/or grinding of meat reduce the SDA for the Burmese python. She also gained training in the measure of metabolic rates of animals.






Ryan Day

As a graduate student at the University of Queensland, Ryan visited our lab for two weeks in the summer of 2009. Ryan was interested in undertaken projects to examine the digestive physiology of fishes and came to our lab to gain training in the everted-sleeve method to quantify intestinal nutrient uptake rates. During his stay, we measured intestinal nutrient uptake and intestinal hydrolase activity.





Cecilia Riquelme

As a post-doctoral researcher with Dr. Leslie Leinwand at the University of Colorado, Cecilia visited our lab in the spring of 2006. Cecilia had begun projects using the Burmese python to examine the signaling mechanisms underlying the hypertrophy of their heart after feeding. She spent time with us working on a joint project on postfeeding changes in skeletal muscle fiber type, and gained training in the handling and care of pythons.





Carol Christel and Dale Denardo

In December of 2005, Carol Christel, a graduate student at Arizona State University, arrived with 18 Gila monsters for a study on the link between exendin-4 release and digestive performance. With feeding, Gila monsters release in their saliva (and blood stream) the incretin compound exendin-4 which stimulates insulin production in diabetic mammals. A synthetic version of the compound, Exenatide, is currently marketed as the diabetes treatment drug Byetta. We were interested in determining whether exendin-4 release was necessary for the lizard's digestive performance. Carol returned in January 2006 with her advisor, Dale Denardo for an intensive week-study of the lizard's digestive responses with normal feeding-induced exendin-4 release and without exendin-4 release. The outcome of this study was published in 2007 (publication # 41)





Mary Roach

Author of "Stiff", "Bonk" and "Packing for Mars", Mary Roach visited us in September 2010 to gather information for an upcoming book on the digestive system.  She watched a python eat a larger rat, an alligator swallow mice, bearded dragons eat superworms, legless lizards consume small mice, and tarantulas capture and eat cockroaches.  We dissected a python, dissolve several prekilled rats in acid, introduced her to a dermestid colony, and sent her home with a stomach full of Dreamland ribs.







Water snake collecting
Each spring after finals, we travel to Itta Bena, Mississippi to collect diamondback water snakes from a catfish farm for research


Justin Bagley &

Brian Ott


Christian Cox, Scott Boback, &

Brian Ott


Alex Huryn, Brandon Nye, &

Christian Cox



Zach Dureau, Pete Giambrone,

Scott Bessler, & Alex Huryn


Alex Huryn


Stephen Secor


Alex Huryn, Everett Secor, &

Michael MacWilliam



Matt Smith, David Hall, & Alex Huryn