Integrated Search Menu

George Brusch

Sols Graduate Programs
Grad Teaching Assistant
Graduate Assistant/Associate, TEMPE Campus, Mailcode 4601
Student Information:
Graduate Student
Biology
Liberal Arts & Sciences

Graduate Student
Biology
Liberal Arts & Sciences

Biography

BIOSKETCH

George Brusch IV received his B.S. in Biology from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. His senior project investigating the impact of climate change on ectotherms in Costa Rica was the featured cover story in a top-tier ecology journal (Oecologia, Feb. 2016). Mr. Brusch is currently a Ph.D. candidate at Arizona State University where his research uses integrative methods to answer questions regarding physiological functions in organisms inhabiting resource-limited environments, specifically how immune function may or may not fluctuate in environments with limited water availability. Recently, he traveled to Australia to collaborate with multiple universities to apply his research methods to conservation concerns associated with a highly invasive species.

CAREER GOALS

My career goals fall into three categories: research, service, and communication. By Spring 2019 I plan to earn a PhD in Biology from ASU. The skills I’ve acquired, and will continue to work on as a post-doc, will allow me to become a faculty member at an R-1 university, where I will mentor and teach the next generation of scientists while simultaneously conducting cutting-edge research. Volunteering with multiple service organizations has also inspired me as a public servant and solidified my dedication to being of service by giving back to the community. Finally, through numerous outreach events, science writing for the public, and presentations to schools and student-groups, I will continue to teach others about the scientific process and the importance of research.

RESEARCH CONTRIBUTIONS

My research has added to an extensive body of ecological work examining the theory that immune defenses compete with other physiological functions (e.g., growth, reproduction) for resources, creating associated life-history trade-offs. While much of the previous research has explored limited energetic resources, I took a novel approach and explored how water (a fundamental, non-energetic resource) interacts with numerous physiological functions. Through my experiments on multiple species and life-stages I have provided substantial evidence that dehydrated animals have enhanced innate immunity in field and laboratory settings. My research has greatly contributed to our understanding of immune function dynamics and has laid a foundation for the study of hydration immunology as a component of the burgeoning field of environmental immunology. Additionally, I’ve recently expanded our understanding of how reproductive females can alter metabolic substrates to reallocate internal water sources during times of water scarcity, an important development in our knowledge of reproductive phenology. I have also applied my research questions to include cane toads in Australia, which provided the ideal backdrop to effectively infuse my physiological research into a critical conservation effort and contributed to our limited understanding of the role of rapid adaptation in the range expansion of an invasive species across the globe. Educating and involving the general public through presentations, manuscripts, outreach efforts, and my blog has also inspired me to continue to find new ways to communicate to the public about how truly amazing our world is. I have continued to blog throughout my dissertation and hope that my writing has reached aspiring students from all backgrounds and taught them about the scientific method, encouraging them to ask their own questions and develop as scientists.

Education

Ph.D.   Arizona State University - Biological Sciences (expected 2019)                  GPA: 4.0

            Dissertation: Elucidating the relationship between hydration state and immunocompetence

            Supervisor: Dr. Dale DeNardo

B.S.     California Polytechnic State University – Biological Sciences (2014)          GPA: 3.9

Research Interests

I use integrative methods to answer questions regarding physiological interactions associated with life in resource-limited environments. My work currently focuses on the relationships between immune function and hydration state in two snake species. 

Publications

Brusch IV GA, Lourdais O, Kaminsky B, DeNardo DF. In Press. Muscles provide an internal water reserve for reproduction. Proceedings of the Royal Society (London) B

Brusch IV GA, Christian K, Brown G, Shine R, DeNardo DF. In Review. Rapid expansion of the invasive cane toad (Rhinella marina) across variable Australian environments: a product of physiological adaptation or phenotypic plasticity? Functional Ecology

Brusch IV GA, DeNardo DF. In Review. Egg desiccations leads to dehydration and enhances innate immunity in python embryos. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Brusch IV GA, Billy G, Blattman JN, DeNardo DF. 2017. Reproduction alters hydration state but does not impact the positive effects of dehydration on innate immune function in Children’s pythons (Antaresia childreni). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 90: 646-654 (featured cover story)

Brusch IV GA, DeNardo DF. 2017. When less means more: dehydration improves innate immunity in rattlesnakes. Journal of Experimental Biology 220: 2287-2295

Nowakowski AJ, Watling JI, Thompson ME, Brusch IV GA, Catenazzi A, Whitfield SM, Kurz DJ, Suarez-Mayorga A, Gutierrez AFA, Donnelly MA, Todd BD. In Review. Thermal biology mediates responses of amphibians and reptiles to habitat modification. Ecology Letters

Dupoué A, Rutschmann A, Le Galliard JF, Miles DB, Clobert J, DeNardo DF, Brusch IV GA, Meylan S. In Review. Natural variation in water balance of common lizards. Oecologia

Brusch IV GA, Taylor EN, Whitfield SM. 2016. Turn up the heat: thermal tolerances of lizards at La Selva, Costa Rica. Oecologia 180: 325-334 (featured cover story)

Hopkins GR, Brodie Jr ED, Mohammadi S, Brusch IV GA, Neuman-Lee LA, Hopkins ZM, French SS. 2016. Physiological responses to salinity in a coastal amphibian. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 89: 322-330

Heiken KH, Brusch IV GA, Gartland S, Escallón C, Moore IT, Taylor EN. 2016. Effects of long distance translocation on corticosterone and testosterone levels in male rattlesnakes. General and Comparative Endocrinology 237: 27-33 

 

IN PREP (available upon request)

Brusch IV GA, DeNardo DF. In Prep. Dehydration during embryonic development: positive relationship between hyperosmolality and immune function during a crucial life stage. Target journal: Frontiers in Zoology

Brusch IV GA, Trussell D, Billy G, Quiquempois V, DeNardo DF. In Prep. The relationship between maternal hydration and immune function: trans-generational impacts on egg and offspring quality. Target journal: Journal of Experimental Biology

Brusch IV GA, Christian K, Brown G, Shine R, DeNardo DF. In Prep. Hydric state and immune performance in water pythons (Liasis fuscus). Target journal: Journal of Comparative Physiology B

Brusch IV GA, Price D, DeNardo DF. In Prep. Reassessing the ‘cost’ of reproduction: hydration state during reproduction in Gila monsters (Heloderma suspectum). Target journal: Physiological and Biochemical Zoology

Fall 2018
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 591Seminar
Fall 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
MIC 591Seminar
Spring 2017
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 202Human Anatomy & Physiology II
Fall 2016
Course NumberCourse Title
BIO 201Human Anatomy/Physiology I
Presentations

2017                Brusch IV GA, Kaminsky B, Lourdais O, DeNardo DF. Muscle as an internal water depot for reproduction: dehydration increases protein catabolism in a capital breeder. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology – Southwestern Regional Meeting. Claremont, CA. October 21, 2017

2017                Brusch IV GA. Snakes have tails too: diversity of snakes in Arizona. ASU Annual Science Day. Tempe, AZ. April 21, 2017

2017                Trussell D, Brusch IV GA, DeNardo DF. Effects of Water Availability During Gravidity on Performance and Growth of Neonate Children’s Pythons (Antaresia childreni). School of Life Sciences Undergraduate Research Symposium. Phoenix, AZ. March 17, 2017

2017                Brusch IV GA, DeNardo DF. Exploring the relationship between hydric state and innate immunity. Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology Annual Meeting. New Orleans, LA. January 8, 2017

2016                Brusch IV GA. Diversity of Costa Rican Flora and Fauna. Desert Garden Montessori. Phoenix, AZ. May 4, 2016

2016                Brusch IV GA. Diversity and importance of reptiles & amphibians. ASU Annual Science Day. Tempe, AZ. April 25, 2016

2015                Brusch IV GA, DeNardo DF. Important predators of the Sonoran Desert. Introduction to Biology Special Seminar, ASU. Tempe, AZ. November 17, 2015

2015                Brusch IV GA, Taylor EN, Whitfield SM.  Turn up the heat: thermal tolerances of lizards at La Selva, Costa Rica. ASU School of Life Sciences ‘Brown Bag’ presentation. Tempe, AZ. October 9, 2015

2014                Brusch IV GA, Taylor EN, Whitfield SM. Turn up the heat: thermal tolerances of lizards at La Selva, Costa Rica. Biology Department Research Seminar, Cal Poly. San Luis Obispo, CA. May 16, 2014

Honors / Awards

2017 College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Student Leader Award

2017 ASU GPSA Leadership Scholarship ($5,000)

2017 ASU School of Life Sciences – Travel Award ($400)

2017 ASU School of Life Sciences – RTI Grant ($1,202)

2017 School of Life Sciences Graduate Ambassador Fellowship ($6,000)

2017 Peabody Family Memorial Fellowship ($1,277)

2017 ASU Immunology Graduate Student Association GSO funding ($743)

2017 ASU Sun Devil Child Care Subsidy ($1,000)

2017 ASU Graduate College Knowledge Mobilization Impact Award - Finalist

2017 ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Excellence Award ($200)

2017 ASU GPSA JumpStart Research Grant ($500)

2017 ASU GPSA Travel Grant ($713)

2016 ASU Sun Devil Child Care Subsidy ($1,000)

2016 ASU GPSA Assembly President Scholarship ($7,500)

2016 NSF East Asia and Pacific Summer Institute (EAPSI) Fellowship ($15,000)

2016 ASU GPSA Assembly Service Award ($500)

2016 ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Excellence Fellowship for First Generation Students ($5,000)

2016 ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Excellence Award ($200)

2016 ASU School of Life Sciences – Assistance with facilities ($540)

2015 Organization for Tropical Studies Outstanding Student Paper Award – Finalist

2015 Oecologia Highlighted Student Paper

2015 ASU GPSA Graduate Research Grant ($750)

2015 ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Graduate Excellence Award ($250)

2014 NSF Graduate Research Fellowship ($138,000)

2014 ASU School of Life Sciences – Assistance with Field Work ($1,087)

2014 ASU School of Life Sciences – Doctoral Recruitment Fellowship ($6,000)

2014 Cal Poly Senior Recognition Award for Exceptional Achievement: Outstanding Biological Sciences Major

2014 NSF/LSAMP PROUD scholar: Outstanding Research in STEM

2014 NSF/LSAMP PROUD scholar: Overall Academic Success

2013 NSF/Organization for Tropical Studies Research Fellowship ($10,000)

2013 Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) Scholarship ($4,000)

2013 Unocal Environmental Education Scholarship ($1,500)

2012 California Polytechnic State University – President’s List

2011-14 California Polytechnic State University - Dean’s List ($4,000)

Professional Associations

Society for Integrative and Comparative Biology                             

American Association of Immunologists

Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology

International Union of Immunological Societies

American Association for the Advancement of Science

American Society for Microbiology

National Association of Graduate Students

Work History

2014-present   Field & Lab Research (Hydration Ecoimmunology) – Arizona State University

2016                Field & Lab Research (Ecoimmunology) – East Asia & Pacific Summer Institute, Australia (2-month duration)

2013                Field & Lab Research (Thermal Physiology) – Organization for Tropical Studies, La Selva, Costa Rica (2-month duration)

2012-2014       Field Research (Spatial Ecology) - Vandenberg Air Force Base, CA (6-month duration)

2012-2014       Field Research (Herpetofaunal Surveys) - Chorro Creek Ecological Preserve, San Luis Obispo, CA (4-month duration)

2012                GIS Consultant (Spatial Ecology) – Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (6-month duration)   

2012                Independent Research Project (Bullfrog Parasitology) - Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, CA (2-month duration)

Service

2017 ASU Graduate Student Bill of Rights Committee - Chair​

2017-2018 Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) – Director or Legislative Affairs

2017 ASU School of Life Sciences – Graduate Programs Committee Co-Chair, Mentoring Agreement Sub-Committee

2017 ASU College of Liberal Arts and Sciences – Graduate Student Success Committee

2016-2017 Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) – Assembly President/Representative, School of Life Sciences, ASU

2016 ASU School of Life Sciences – Summer Research Experience Program (reviewer)

2016-2017 ASU Day at the Capitol: School of Life Sciences booth

2016-present Immunology Graduate Student Association, President/Co-founder – ASU

2016-present Microbiology Graduate Student Association, Member – ASU

2016-present Ecology (Ad-hoc reviewer)

2015-2016 Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) – Representative, School of Life Sciences, ASU; Lobbyist, Legislative Action Days, Sept 2015, March 2016, Sept 2016,   Washington D.C.

2015-present First Generation pathways to Success (1GPS), Mentor – ASU

2015-present Frontiers in Zoology (Ad-hoc reviewer)

2014-present SHADES Multicultural Peer Mentoring Program, Mentor – ASU

2014-present Arizona Women in Science, Mentor – ASU

2014-present Department of Animal Care & Technologies: reptile tent at Homecoming–ASU

2014-2017 Employment Engagement Committee’s Bring Your Child to Work Day: Herpetology presentation – ASU

2014 SoLS Takes a Hike: reptile booth – ASU      

2014-present Night of the Open Door: reptile booth – ASU

2014-present Ask A Biologist: contributor to Physiology section

2011-2014 Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (NSF-LSAMP), Member/Mentor –   California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo