G. Edgar Folk, Jr., PhD

Contact Information

Address: 6-502 BSB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: (319) 335-7833
Email: g-folk@uiowa.edu

Research

We study the biological clock (also called the circadian rhythm) of humans and other mammals not only in the laboratory environment but also under field conditions in the hostile environment of the Arctic region. We also study cold adaptation, hibernation, and hypothermia, which we have investigated in ten species of Arctic mammals, including grizzly, black, and polar bears. Hibernators tolerate very low core temperatures without fatal cardiac dysrhythmias, while hypothermia in humans leads to profound cardiac dysfunction and fatal arrhythmias. Therefore, understanding the physiology of hibernation may be useful in the treatment of human disease.

Recently we have studied the electrophysiologic changes the heart undergoes in hibernation and hypothermia, comparing hibernators and humans. Specifically, we compare heart rate (HR) and QT interval with core body temperature. Another interest is the History of Physiology.

Dr. Folk at the APS in San Diego where he received the 2012 Orr E. Reynolds Award for the best historical article. He is pictured here in front of the APS timeline of significant milestones where he is mentioned for publishing the first definitive proof that bears are true hibernators.