Science Pub goes to the dogs with Iditarod presentation

June’s Science Pub Corvallis features a chilly subject for a hot month, “The Toughest Race on Earth: The Science Behind the Iditarod.” The event takes place June 8 at Old World Deli.

Professor Anita Azarenko, head of the OSU department of horticulture, and James Cassidy, OSU Soil Science instructor and advisor for the Organic Growers Club spoke at the May Corvallis Science Pub. (photo: Celene Carillo)

Professor Anita Azarenko, head of the OSU department of horticulture, and James Cassidy, OSU Soil Science instructor and advisor for the Organic Growers Club spoke at the May Corvallis Science Pub. (photo: Celene Carillo)

Each year since 1973, top mushers and dogs have come together for Alaska’s Iditarod, a 1,000-mile race through some of the toughest terrain Mother Nature has to offer. This challenging endurance test provides an invaluable opportunity to learn more about animal physiology and performance – something Oregon State University animal researcher Erica McKenzie knows well.

She’s been working with sled dogs for the past six years and has been part of three Iditarods, studying what makes these canine athletes so successful at what they do, and so distinct from other dogs.

Some of her work included studying the dogs’ blood globulin levels to determine how depleted they become during the race. During the race from Anchorage to Nome, dogs burn an enormous amount of energy, requiring 4,000 to 6,000 calories a day.

A clinical faculty member of the OSU College of Veterinary Medicine, McKenzie is an assistant professor, specializing in large animal internal medicine. Her research focuses on nutrition, exercise physiology and muscle disease.

She is a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Internal Medicine and holds a Ph.D. in veterinary medicine.
Science Pub Corvallis is held on the second Monday of the month, 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Come early for food, drink, and to get a seat! The event takes place at Old World Deli, 341 SW 2nd St., Corvallis.

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