Benjamin J Renquist, PhD

Assistant Professor, Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences
Assistant Professor, Physiological Sciences - GIDP
Phone Number: 
(520) 626-5793
Professional Bio: 

Dr. Renquist initially focused his research on examining the control of food intake.  The neuroendocrine regulation of food intake is a relatively young field with the majority of research focused on the detrimental effects of obesity however in animal production adiposity improves meat quality. Increasing food intake improves feed efficiency and growth therefore by understanding the regulation of food intake at the endocrine and neuroendocrine level it may allow for the current limits of production to be expanded.

Following up on research that he performed while completing his PhD, Dr. Renquist also continues to examine the relationship between nutritional status and reproductive performance. Initially, these two areas of research appear to be very diverse, but the neuroendocrine mechanisms mediating both utilize many of the same neuronal populations.

Research Information

Research Program: 
Therapeutic Development
Research Focus: 

Dr. Renquist’s research is performed in cell culture, mouse, and fish models to address 4 foci:

1)   Understanding the causative role of hepatic lipid accumulation in the development of obesity associated pathophysiologies.  Hepatic lipid accumulation is directly linked to the severity and incidence of both Type II diabetes mellitus and hypertension.  Our research aims to understand the signaling mechanism that links hepatic lipid accumulation to these disease states.

2)   The physiological control of feed intake during heat stress.  Heat stress suppresses food intake.  The Renquist lab is focused on the role of heat induced changes in blood flow and how these may manipulate phagic drive.  Since heat stress suppresses milk production, we are also interested in the role of heat stress induced depression of mammary blood flow in the decrease in milk production.

3)   Development of a single dose injectable sterilant -  This project designed to develop a single dose injectable sterilant, funded by a Michelson Grant in Reproductive Biology, is employing GnRH-toxin conjugates to ablate gonadotropes which produce hormones that stimulate both egg and sperm maturation.  By preventing both egg and sperm maturation we will effectively sterilize the animals.

4)   Predicting growth in aquaculturally important species by measuring the metabolic rate of embryonic aquatic organisms (tilapia, oysters, and shrimp).  In fish metabolic rate is tightly coupled to essential functions for growth (e.g. protein and DNA synthesis).  This project will employ an assay that measures metabolic rate of fish, previously designed for drug development by Dr. Renquist, to sort aquaculturally important species (tilapia and trout) by metabolic rate and monitor subsequent growth rate.

Academic Information

Doctorate: 
Nutrition, University of California, Davis
Master's Degree: 
MS, Animal Science, University of California, Davis
Undergraduate School: 
BS, Animal Science, Colorado State University