Jacob Joseph Blum
James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Medicine
My present research interests focus on two areas. One is to understand the pathways of intermediary metabolism and various factors regulating flux through these pathways in the parasitic protozoan Leishmania donovani. In particular, I am presently working on: (1) the enzymes involved in the pathway for synthesis of mannan, the putative carbohydrate storage reserve of these cells; (2) the effects of acute increases and decreases in osmolality on the rates of oxidation of glucose, alanine, and proline and of the active transport of these three key nutrients into the cells; (3) the regulatory functions of protein kinases in the metabolism and uptake of these substrates.
The other area of research, done in collaboration with Prof. M. Reed of the Department of Mathematics, concerns the analysis of the functions of several nuclei of the lower brain stem in encoding information on the nature and/or location of a sound source, i.e., the interpretation of information arriving to the brain via the auditory nerve. In particular, we are studying, via computer modeling, the experimentally measured response properties of neural networks in the dorsal cochlear nucleus to sound inputs such as sinusoidal waves at various frequencies and intensities, broad band noise, notch noise, etc., and are now re-investigating the role of the lateral superior olive in determining the location of a sound source via the differences in sound intensity registered at the two ears.
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