UNH Lamprey Researchers Win Competitive Grant

Sep 2, 2013

A University of New Hampshire team studying lampreys has received a $750,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to continue research.

For those who don’t know what a lamprey is, the jawless fish look like eels. They are a species older than the dinosaurs.

UNH professor Stacia Sower’s team examines the reproductive hormones of the lamprey. Since the fish is one of the oldest and most basic vertebrate species out there, Sower says it can tell scientists a lot about other vertebrates, including humans.

“We can help provide insight into how some of these hormones and receptors are functioning in vertebrates. Some of these systems are very complex, and we’re looking at a much simpler plan that can help us unravel some of the many questions we have.”

Sower will continue to study the brain and pituitary hormones of the lamprey, which control reproduction and metabolism. Her research has informed separate research on metabolism, thyroid problems, and tumor growth in humans.