Anatomy and Physiology
We are a multi-disciplinary department with responsibilities in instruction, research and continuing education in the disciplines of gross and microscopic anatomy, cell and systemic physiology, pharmacology, and neuroscience.
Our mission: Cultivate an environment that fosters ingenuity, leadership and excellence in teaching, research and service.
Our vision: Build the finest veterinary biomedical science department.
Highlights in research and teaching
Dr. Philine Wangemann leads research to provide insight into causes for childhood deafness with inner ear findings in animals
Bigger is not always better, especially when it comes to structures in the inner ear. Enlargement of the vestibular aqueduct (EVA) has long been associated with hearing loss. A new study using a mouse model finally reveals the root cause of how this structure becomes enlarged, and could lead to new approaches to preventing and treating hearing loss associated with EVA and similar disorders. The discovery is the result of a research collaboration between Kansas State University and the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), part of the National Institutes of Health. The NIDCD and the NIH’s National Center for Research Resources (now known as the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences) funded the study.
The paper, “Molecular architecture underlying fluid absorption by the developing inner ear,” was published online October 10 in the journal eLife. “This study provides the first comprehensive picture of the genes and cells involved in fluid absorption by the developing inner ear,” said Andrew J. Griffith, M.D., Ph.D., senior author and chief of the Molecular Biology and Genetics Section in the NIDCD Division of Intramural Research. “We know this process is important because mutations in genes that are critical for this process cause hearing loss associated with EVA.”
This diagram shows the anatomy of the inner ear. Hearing loss and deafness may occur when the inner ear is enlarged due to failure of fluid absorption in the endolymphatic sac. This failure of fluid absorption has now been established as a root cause of hearing loss. Source: NIH/NIDCD
About two to three out of every 1,000 children in the United States are born with a detectable level of hearing loss in one or both ears. Between 5 and 15 percent of children with sensorineural hearing loss (hearing loss caused by damage to sensory cells inside the cochlea) have EVA.
Techniques developed at Kansas State University enabled the researchers to demonstrate for the first time how fluid is absorbed in the inner ear. “The purpose of this study was to gain insight into the functional, molecular, and cellular architecture of the endolymphatic sac and to identify the components of the physiologic-developmental pathway that is disrupted in EVA,” explained Philine Wangemann, Ph.D., University Distinguished Professor at Kansas State University and a co-corresponding author. “We showed that the endolymphatic sac absorbs fluid that is dependent on the gene, SLC26A4.”
A combination of three major approaches was used to define the mechanism underlying fluid absorption in the endolymphatic sac: 1) a pharmacological approach using drugs to probe for the contribution of specific ion transporters to fluid absorption; 2) a tissue-based approach surveying the transcriptome of the entire endolymphatic sac; and 3) a novel cell-based approach surveying the transcriptome of individual cells isolated from the endolymphatic sac, which became possible through techniques developed at the NIDCD.
The current paper in eLife is the sixth in a series of studies on mouse models published by Griffith and Wangemann and their collaborators. The previous studies defined when and where the SLC26A4 gene is required for normal hearing and development of the inner ear. In 2013, the researchers reported that they partially restored hearing and balance in affected mice by expressing the SLC26A4 gene. The new study provides a better understanding of the interconnection of these factors.
Dr. Hans Coetzee, Professor and Department Head for Kansas State University's Department of Anatomy & Physiology, has earned the 2017 AVMA Animal Welfare Award for his ground-breaking work in livestock pain assessment and pain management. Receiving the award during the 2017 AVMA Convention in July, he was recognized for his commitment to welfare of livestock animals and his achievements in the development of pain assessment models.
Dr. Coetzee has secured about $9 million in research funding from federal, nonprofit and industry sources. He is author or co-author of 111 manuscripts and eight book chapters and has edited two books. He has one U.S. patent for alleviating pain and improving performance during dehorning and castration (U.S 8,791,105 B2) and two additional patents pending.
On Aug. 29, during the 33rd World Veterinary Congress in Incheon, Korea, the inaugural World Veterinary Association Global Animal Welfare Awards were given to 6 veterinarians, representing each of the WVA world regions. Dr. Coetzee emerged as the winner from the U.S. region.
Dr. Tim Musch, University Distinguished Professor of kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology, was selected for the 2018 Honor Award from Environmental and Exercise Physiology, or EEP, section of the American Physiologic Society.
Dr. David Poole, Professor of exercise physiology and Co-Director of the Cardiorespiratory Exercise Laboratory in the kinesiology, and anatomy and physiology departments, will receive the Edward F. Adolph Distinguished Lectureship Award from the Environmental and Exercise Physiology, or EEP, section of the American Physiological Society.
A National Institutes of Health-funded research project seeks to produce a therapeutic compound that could be administered directly to the lungs in aerosol form.