Biology Department: David Scholnick

David Scholnick Biking







David Scholnick

Professor of Biology

210/211 Strain
503-352-2727 (voice)
503-352-2933 (fax)





David Scholnick, associate professor of biology, was recently featured on the Discovery Channel (Daily Planet) with research students Nathan Gilpin (exercise science senior) and Kristen Dick (biology sophomore). Check out the link to see them examining Oregon lizards sick with malaria, collecting them and bringing to campus to better understand the disease and its impacts on animals in North America.

Discovery Channel. Daily Planet.


Today Show Appearance How a shrimp on a treadmill became a Web sensation


Pacific University’s David Scholnick and College of Charleston’s Lou Burnett spoke to Today Show hosts Matt Lauer, Meredith Vieira and Al Roker about their research entitled "Shrimp on Treadmill". The research started as a simple investigation on the impact of bacteria on shrimp and soon turned into an Internet sensation.



















Research Interests

Worldwide animals are at an increased risk of opportunistic pathogens. Elevations in temperature and increased areas of low oxygen, suggest that pathogen exposure of lower vertebrates and marine invertebrates are escalating.

The central hypothesis underlying my research is that infectious disease can compromise the respiratory systems of lower vertebrates and invertebrates and thereby limit the ability of animals to sustain and recover from normal activities.

Working with colleagues at College of Charleston's Grice Marine Laboratory and Hollings Marine Laboratory in Charleston, South Carolina, we have demonstrated that in resting animals bacterial infection can compromise normal metabolic function. Following infection, aerobic respiration rates are down regulated and lactate levels increase in resting animals.

At Pacific University my students and I will examine the relationship between host and pathogen in lower vertebrates and invertebrates during activity and recovery. Studies will be conducted using local lizards that are infected with Plasmodium-the hemoparasite that causes malaria in a wide range of vertebrates-to determine if infected lizards have limited respiratory capacity.

Many lizard populations are regularly infected with Plasmodium which is transmitted via blood sucking invertebrates. Previous research has shown that many of the physiological disruption experienced by lizards are similar to those seen in humans. Infected lizards have reduced oxygen uptake, suffer from anemia, and have reduced fat stores.

My students and I will examine the thermoregulatory ability of infected and uninfected lizards at rest and following activity. Additional studies will determine changes in metabolism, recovery, and lactate in lizards exposed to the malarial parasite.




In a separate set of experiments, penaeid shrimp that typically inhabit estuaries and regularly encounter high temperatures and low oxygen levels will be used to examine whether bacterial infection can alter anaerobic pathways. In these studies, shrimp infected with pathogenic bacteria will be exercised on small treadmills and changes in lactate, oxygen consumption, and activity monitored. These experiments will indicate whether sublethal infection can suppress normal respiratory activity and limit recovery.

The goal of these studies is to better understanding how pathogens can impact respiration and thereby disrupt metabolic pathways during activity.

Undergraduate Research

I strongly support undergraduate research at all levels and have found that involving undergraduates in research is one of the most valuable educational experiences in the sciences. In the past I have been involved in undergraduate research projects that have given rise to several publications, presentations at national meetings as well as job and graduate school opportunities .

I feel that the most effective way students can develop independent thought and creativity is through research. I encourage students interested in getting involved in research projects to talk with me about possible opportunities during the academic year and summer.


  * Indicates undergraduate research student


Abstracts and Presentations

* Indicates undergraduate research student