Jim Marden


picture of me 


Dept. of Biology
Assoc. Dir. Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences

Penn State University
208 Mueller Lab
University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814- 863-1384  
    Fax: 814-865-9131   
    Email: jhm10 at psu.edu

Some highlights:

Review and new perspective on why metabolic enzyme loci are so frequently targets of selection (online pub)

Genetic variation affecting the hypoxia inducible pathway affects insect tracheal development, phyisology and ecology (online pub)

Fossil evidence for a surface skimming insect in the Carboniferous (online pub).

Marden presents 14th Annual Strickland Memorial Lecture in Entomology at U. of Alberta on Evol of Insect Flight

Schilder (co-authors Kimball, Marden & Jefferson) wins Best Poster award at Amer. Physiol. Soc. meeting

Plenary lecture presented at French Workshop on Robotics, CNRS  Institute

Vera, Wheat, et al. present first de novo assembly (without
 use of existing genome or EST data) and annotation of a
 transcriptome using 454 sequence data  (online pub).

Schilder wins Scholander Award from American Physiological
  Society for work from his PhD at PSU; publishes invited
  commentary in J. Diabetes Sci. Tech.

1999-2006: Six papers in four different sections of PNAS   (Physiology, Evolution, Genetics, Engineering)

*** Post-doc position open, 2014.  Shared teaching and research postdoc with Juniata College (ad here).  Previous holder was hired into tenure track college position after one year!

Research Interests:

My research interests are primarily in the areas of physiological ecology, functional genomics, evolutionary ecology, biomechanics, and behavior.

In the most general terms, I am interested in how organisms work, and why they work that way.  I investigate mechanistic details of  physiology, along with ecological and historical reasons why particular physiological mechanisms have evolved.

Projects presently underway in my laboratory concentrate on using transcriptome and genome data from ecologically important species to inform physiological and mechanistic studies that further our understanding of how organisms operate and evolve in nature.  Using that approach, we are presently examining the respiratory and energetic physiology in a butterfly (Melitaea cinxia) that is a model system for metapopulation biology.  I have a new research collaboration and grant (with Liza Comita, Scott Mangan, and Claude dePamphilis) to do similar work with trees on the Forest Dynamics Plot in Panama.

My lab has maintained an interest in the way alternative splicing of a muscle gene, troponin-t, affects contractile performance. We have discovered recently that quantitative variation in the relative abundance of troponin-t splice forms is tightly related to the body weight of both insects and mammals. This provides a molecular indicator for how much a body "thinks" that it weighs. In collaboration with Ruud Schilder and colleagues at Hershey College of Medicine, we have examined physiological conditions that disrupt normal troponin-t splicing, including the effects of obesity. Dr. Schilder is now moving forward with this work on numerous fronts, with opportunities for ongoing collaborations with me and my students.

I have a long-standing interest in the way size and allometry (scaling) affect animal performance and energetics.  We discovered that the mass scaling of force output by biological motors is a universal relationship that extends to human-designed motors as well. Using those results, I have worked with Adrian Bejan, an engineer and physicist at Duke university to generate a fundamental theory of animal locomotion. There are many potential ways to move forward with new studies combining empirical and theoretical approaches to gain a robust understanding of many aspects of organismal design and function.

Another longstanding and ongoing project involves the evolution of insect flight using stoneflies and other hemimetabolous insects.

Courses that I teach:


Quick-time movies from our studies of the evolutionary origins of insect flight

Nature photography and etc. - link to a site where I to post some image galleries

       Some present and past denizens of the lab:

MarkPeterson        Emily_H        Erica_S      
        Dr. Mark Peterson                           Dr. Emily Hornett                            Erica Shearer

heat mug shot        Ruud's mug      risti mug       annyC                                   
          Dr. Chris Wheat                              Dr. Ruud Schilder                  Dr. Kristi Montooth                 Dan Cassarella

ike's mug         oward Fescemyer      hris vera     elissa  
          Dr. Michael Thomas              Dr. Howard Fescemyer                         Cris Vera                           Melissa Kramer

weta         rigid     arry     ason
      Dr. Sweta Girgenrath           Dr. Brigid O'Donnell               Barry Rowan                      Jason Cobb              

ohnF     arah   Reed   Tahira  
               John Frisch                                  Sarah Wherry                           W. Reed Doerfler               Tahira West

          Julianne Pekny                             Daniel Matasic