Andrew N. Evans, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor, Molecular Physiology
Department of Coastal Sciences
Gulf Coast Research Laboratory
703 East Beach Drive
Ocean Springs, MS 39564
I am interested in the molecular endocrinology of stress and osmoregulation in fishes, with a particular interest in elasmobranchs. Central to the vertebrate stress response is activation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) endocrine axis, ultimately resulting in the adrenal/interrenal production of glucocorticoid steroid hormones. Glucocorticoids enhance survival by increasing blood glucose levels, metabolic rate, and blood pressure. However, components of the HPA axis including glucocorticoids also suppress the function of other physiological systems nonessential for immediate survival, and therefore extended or inappropriate responsiveness of the stress system results in adverse effects including impaired growth, immunity and reproductive fitness. In fish, additional physiological consequences stem from the fact that the same steroid hormone facilitating the stress response also mediates hydromineral balance.
I am particularly interested in the actions of glucocorticoids and how the HPI (interrenal, the fish adrenal homolog) axis is regulated to minimize the impact of stress on other critical endocrine systems such as those mediating osmoregulation. Understanding the physiological consequences of stress, as well as the molecular mechanisms that have evolved to mitigate such consequences, is vital for both conservation and aquaculture efforts. My research program utilizes molecular and physiological methods to investigate three major areas: the actions of glucocorticoid and mineralocorticoid steroid hormones, the intersection of stress and osmoregulation, and regulation of the HPI axis.