NOTE: Faculty, if you are interviewed and quoted by news media, or if your work has been cited, and you have an online link to the article or video, please let us know. Contact us at  

CSUSB professor co-author on paper studying cardiac arrhythmias in alligators and rabbits
Integrative Organismal Biology

Tomasz Owerkowicz, a CSUSB associate professor of biology, was part of a team of scientists from Georgia Tech and the University of Akron that recently published a paper on cardiac arrhythmias, comparing the heart beats of alligators and rabbits. They found that alligators have built-in antiarrhythmic protection when under stress.

According to the abstract: “We find that unlike rabbits, alligators show minimal changes in wave parameters (action potential duration and conduction velocity) which complement each other to retain similar electrophysiological wavelengths across temperatures and pacing frequencies. The cardiac electrophysiology of rabbits accommodates the high heart rates necessary to sustain an active and endothermic metabolism at the cost of increased risk of cardiac arrhythmia and critical vulnerability to temperature changes, whereas that of alligators allows for effective function over a range of heart temperatures without risk of cardiac electrical arrhythmias such as fibrillation, but is restricted to low heart rates.”

Read the abstract, with a link to a PDF of the study, at “Defibrillate you later, alligator; Q10 scaling and refractoriness keeps alligators from fibrillation.”

Owerkowicz is also quoted in this article from Georgia Tech, “Study finds alligator hearts keep beating no matter what.”

"He considers the findings 'another piece of the puzzle that helps us realize how really cool non-human animals are and how many different tricks they have up their sleeves.'

Owerkowicz "expressed hope that more researchers will follow their example and use a non-traditional animal model in future research.

"'Everyone studies mammals, fruit flies, and zebrafish. There's such a huge wealth of resources among the wild animals that have not been brought to the laboratory setting that have such neat physiologies, that are waiting to be uncovered. All we have to do is look,' he said."

CSUSB professor interviewed about the problem of police trying to weed out extremists in their ranks
The New York Times
Feb. 16, 2021

An article examining the participation of some law enforcement officers in the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol riot and in extremist groups included an interview with Brian Levin, director of Cal State San Bernardino’s Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism.

Recently, during protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in police custody, far-right organizers, eager to recruit police or military veterans, portrayed themselves as allies to law enforcement, said Levin, a former policeman.

Various organizations talked about helping to preserve law and order while amplifying distorted claims about election fraud or chaos at Black Lives Matter protests. It was a “false alliance,” Mr. Levin said, not least because such organizations seek to undermine the government. At protests members of these groups often exhibited the Thin Blue Line flag — a black-and-white American flag with one navy blue stripe down the middle meant to symbolize solidarity with the police. The newspaper reported that some rioters carried the Thin Blue Line flag while attacking Capitol Police.

Read the complete article at “Police forces have long tried to weed out extremists in the ranks. Then came the Capitol riot.”

These news clips and others may be viewed at “In the Headlines.”