Hibernation Biology 2.0

Hibernation is a fascinating phenomena, the regulative mechanism of which is still unknown. For homeothermic mammals maintaining their body temperature constant around 37ºC, it is a challenging issue how to survive the cold season when food, the energy source for heat production, is depleted. Torpor is a phenomenon of surviving in a state of hypothermia that deviates from normal homeothermia by actively suppressing heat production and basal metabolism, thereby reducing energy consumption under cold and/or starvation. When torpor occurs repeatedly and seasonally for several months, it is called hibernation. Although we humans cannot hibernate, hibernation and torpor are widely observed across mammals, including primates. However, due to various technical problems, mechanisms of hibernation and torpor remains to be elucidated.

This research area aims to understand the principles of controlling and achieving hibernation and torpor, and mechanisms to respond to cold and low body temperature in hibernation and torpor using analytical methods and technologies provided by leading researchers in various fields. Basic scientific knowledge obtained in this field is expected to serve as a foundation for future development and spread to a wide range of fields, including medicine, drug discovery, environmental science, and space science.