Mickie Lynn Powell

Research Assistant Professor, Biology Scholars Program Director
email
Campbell Hall 103
(205) 975-2524

Research and Teaching Interests: Nutrition as it relates to healthspan and longevity using aquatic model organisms

Mickie Powell. Office Hours: By appointment only

Education:
  • BS, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Mathematics (major)/Biology and Chemistry (minor)
  • MS, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Biology
  • PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Biology
  • Post-Doctoral, University of New Hampshire

I don’t have any aquaria at home because we maintain several hundred in our lab. Over the years I have had the opportunity to work with some very unique organisms. During my post doc I worked with hagfish and lampreys — some of the earliest vertebrates. I currently work with sea urchins, zebrafish, and our newest model a small killifish (Nothobranchius furrier) that has the distinction of being the shortest lived vertebrate in captivity.

Our laboratory’s research is focused on understanding the physiological outcomes of nutrition as it relates to healthspan and longevity using aquatic model organisms. We work with both invertebrate (sea urchins) and vertebrate models. The laboratory has two teleost fish models for nutrition and aging research: the zebrafish, Danio rerio, and the killifish, Nothobranchius furzeri. N. furzeri is the shortest-lived vertebrate currently held in captivity, it has a lifespan of approximately 20 weeks. During this short livespan it exhibits many of the classic phenotypes associated with aging, including cataract formation, muscle wasting, and cognitive degeneration. Working with collaborators at several institutions we are developing standardized protocols for nutrition and husbandry for the application of N. furzeri to relevant questions in aging research.

Current projects at the lab are focused on:
  • Refining and standardizing the husbandry of N. furzeri to reduce variation among laboratories that currently or may potentially utilize this model for aging research.
  • Developing nutritionally complete open formulation diets that can be manipulated to understand the effects of specific micro- and macro- nutrients on animal health and longevity.
  • Applying the principles of nutritional geometry to understand how changes in dietary nutrient consumption associated with stress and other environmental factors can affect body condition such as adiposity.
  • Studying the effects of aging on whole animal metabolic rates and metabolic enzyme activities associated with specific nutrients.
  • Introductory Biology
  • Cell Biology
  • Cell Physiology
  • Smith DL Jr., Barry RJ, Powell ML, Nagy TR, D'Abramo LR, and Watts SA, "Dietary protein source influence on body size and composition in growing zebrafish," Zebrafish 10 (No. 3, 2013):439-46.
  • Watts SA, Powell M, and D'Abramo LR, "Fundamental approaches to the study of zebrafish nutrition," ILAR Journal 53 (No. 2, 2012):144-60.
  • Jones WT, Hammer H, Powell ML, Gibbs VK, Lawrence JL, Lawrence AL, and Watts AS, "The effect of vitamins on weight gain and organ production in the sea urchin Lytechinus variegates (Echinodermata:Echinoidea)," Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 43 (No. 1, 2012):39-50.
  • Powell ML, Jones WT, Gibbs VK, Hammer HS, Lawrence JM, Fox J, et al., "Dietary copper affects survival, growth, and reproduction in the sea urchin Lytechinus Variegatus," Journal of Shellfish Research 29 (No. 4, 2010):1043-49.
  • Powell ML, Jones WT, Gibbs VK, Hammer HS, Lawrence JM, Lawrence AL, and Watts SA, "Effect of dietary calcium, magnesium and phosphorus on growth of the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus," Proceedings of the 12th International Echinoderm Conference, Durham, New Hampshire (2010), 391-96.
  • Taylor AM, Powell ML, Watts SA, and Lawrence AL, "Formulated feed supports weight gain and survivorship in juvenile sea urchins Lytechinus variegatus," Journal of the World Aquaculture Society 40 (No. 6, 2009):780-87.
  • Jones WJ, Powell ML, Gibbs VK, Hammer HS, Watts SA, Lawrence AL, and Lawrence JM, "Evaluation of the effect of dietary zinc, iron, and manganese supplementation on growth and survival of the sea urchin Lytechinus variegatus," Proceedings of the 12th International Echinoderm Conference, Durham, New Hampshire (2010), 385-90.
  • Hammer HS, Powell ML, Gibbs VK, Jones WT, Watts SA, Lawrence AL, Lawrence JM, and D’Abramo LR, "Effect of dietary menhaden oil and soy oil on consumption, somatic growth and gonad production of the sea urchin, Lytechinus variegatus," Proceedings of the 12th International Echinoderm Conference, Durham, New Hampshire (2010), 377-84.
  • Gibbs VK, Powell ML, Hammer HS, Jones WT, Watts SA, Lawrence AL, and Lawrence JM, "The effects of dietary phospholipids and cholesterol on growth and organ production in the sea urchin, Lytechinus variegatus," Proceedings of the 12th International Echinoderm Conference, Durham, New Hampshire (2010), 369-76.
  • World Aquaculture Association
  • Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology
  • Alabama Academy of Science