Christian K. Tipsmark

Christian K. Tipsmark

Associate Professor

J. William Fulbright College of Arts & Sciences

(BISC)-Biological Sciences

Phone: 479-575-8436

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My research investigates function of membranes in transport epithelia and examines how hormones coordinate physiological adaptation to environmental stress. I am especially interested in salt and water balance in fish and how their osmoregulatory organs (gill, kidney and intestine) handle the challenges associated with aquatic life. An important aspect of this research relates to how the endocrine system orchestrates these processes along with growth and reproduction. 

    The fishes chosen for my research are species that can adapt to different osmotic environments. While many fish only live at one salinity (stenohaline fish; e.g. goldfish in freshwater and cod in seawater), certain species are euryhaline and able to live at the interface between the freshwater and seawater environments (e.g. medaka and killifish), move between these habitats frequently (e.g. seabass and flounder) or may develop this capacity as part of their life cycle (e.g. salmon and eel). These species are advantageous to the investigation of the fundamental physiological processes controlling ion and water homeostasis due to the exceptional plasticity of their osmoregulatory tissues. For example, in the gill epithelia a complete reversal of the direction of compensatory ion transport is seen when a fish moves from a freshwater to a seawater setting. This requires an epithelial remodeling that involves selective apoptosis along with differentiation and proliferation of specific cell types. 

My approach to research is multidisciplinary and integrates biochemistry, molecular and cellular biology with classical organismal physiology to better appreciate the elaborate mechanisms that permit fish to live in a challenging and diverse aquatic environment.

Comparative physiology and endocrinology, osmoregulation in fish, epithelial function, membrane biology. 

Ph.D. University of Southern Denmark, 2003

Madsen, S.S., Bujak, J.K., & Tipsmark, C.K. (2014). Aquaporin expression in the Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes, Temminck & Schlegel) in FW and SW: challenging the paradigm for intestinal water transport?  Journal of Experimental Biology, 217, 3108-3121. 

Breves, J.P, Tipsmark, C.K, Stough, B.A., Seale, A.P.,Flack, B.R., Moorman, B.P., Lerner, D.T., & Grau, R.G. (2014). Nutritional status and growth hormone regulate insulin-like growth factor binding protein (IGFBP) transcripts in Mozambique tilapia. General and Comparative Endocrinology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ygcen.2014.04.034

Engelund, M.B., Yu, A.S.L., Li, J., Madsen, S.S., Færgeman, N.J., & Tipsmark, C.K. (2012). Functional characterization and localization of a gill specific claudin isoform in Atlantic salmon.  American Journal of Physiology, 302, R300-R311. On Journals Cover Page.

Tipsmark, C.K., & Madsen, S.S. (2012). Tricellulin, occludin and claudin-3 expression in salmon intestine and kidney during salinity adaptation. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A. 162, 378-385.

Tipsmark, C.K., Breves, J.P., Seale, A.P., Lerner, D.T., Hirano, T., & Grau, E.G. (2011). Switching of Na+,K+-ATPase isoforms by salinity and prolactin in the gill of a cichlid fish. Journal of Endocrinology, 209, 237-244.