Saturday, June 23, 2012


John Lighton is back again!

At long last, after creating the Respirometry blog some seven years ago, I've regained access to it (this was nearly impossible after Google acquired Blogger). Not sure how much I'll end up posting here, because my other site,, has features such as calculators etc. that make it more generally useful.

But on the other hand, is currently implemented in Joomla, a move I really regret! Joomla may work for some people, but I find it weirdly user-hostile and curiously depressing. Plus, it's a long, involved process to add a blog post to, which explains why I haven't posted any for years. This site has a much lower activation energy.

So, we'll see where this thing goes.

Metabolically yours,


Friday, February 10, 2006


A call for imaging proposals at Argonne National Laboratory

I am a biologist at Argonne National Laboratory working with Wah-Keat Lee and Kamel Fezzaa to develop the biological x-ray imaging program at the Advanced Photon Source. In a nutshell, we have the capability to look inside small animals with three methods: live video imaging, high resolution still imaging, and 3D imaging using tomography. This is made possible by the quality and intensity of synchrotron x-rays produced here, which permit phase-contrast effects that makes edges 'pop out' relative to standard absorption x-ray radiography. If you haven't seen the images, they're pretty fantastic. This technique is particularly well-suited for studies that involve tracheal systems because of the large difference in density between air and tissue. We have collected a lot of exploratory data and have worked on a few insect taxa in detail (much of which lies unpublished--we're working on it), but we have barely scratched the surface. Most importantly, we would like others to take advantage of these facilities--we want to fill the halls with biologists. We don't promise that we can see everything, but the possibilities for biological studies are immense.

In concert with the live imaging capability, we are equipped with a Sable flow-through respirometry system, including two mass flow valves for control of flow up to 5 L/min, and a Licor 7000 analyzer. If you don't want to use that system or have additional needs, there's plenty of space for you to set up your own equipment.

Beam time at the Advanced Photon Source is free--we are the US's largest scientific user facility. To secure time (on the order of days), you simply need to write a short proposal, due a few months in advance of the upcoming 'run'. There are three such runs per year, and the next deadline is March 6 for the run of May 30 to Aug 25. If you decide to submit, get in touch and we can discuss ideas for logistics, and if you'd like I can offer advice on the proposal. (If your proposal is rejected, it 'ages-up'--if you submit again, you automatically start with a higher score. The APS does this to make sure new users can get in.) To submit a proposal, choose the "Apply for beam time" in the left corner of the APS home page.

If you have any questions or would like to see some sample data, please contact myself or Wah-Keat Lee. Wah-Keat is a physicist who has been developing the imaging here for years, and he's eager to see new faces and start new projects. (And though he is a physicist, he has 'seen the light' of biology, and in particular has gotten hooked on how bizarre and interesting insects can be!)

Here are some relevant links:
APS home page
APS run schedule
APS calendar (including deadlines)
Find a person at ANL

Sunday, January 15, 2006


How to post to this blog!

First, you need to be a member. If you're not a member yet, please contact one of the listed members of this group for an invitation. Membership is open to anyone who is active in respirometry, which we can broadly define as the measurement of gas exchange rates in organisms, aka indirect calorimetry. Direct calorimetrists are also welcome.

To post (You mean you haven't posted yet?), go to, enter your user name and password, and then click on the RESPIROMETRY blog. Once you're in, click on the POSTING tab, write your deathless prose, and click PUBLISH POST. Follow the prompts.

Onward and upward!

Tuesday, December 13, 2005


Strange Cycles and the Fruit-Fly’s Tongue

Thought you might find this light-hearted (!) piece on respiratory physiology during flight interesting. BTW, we need to invite Fritz Lehmann to join this blog, hein?

To read the article, click here.

Monday, December 12, 2005


Introductory note from John Lighton

Greetings, fellow users of respirometry. This is a non-commercial, non-sectarian, collaborative weblog for our community.

I've often had discussions with people who regularly use respirometry of various kinds in their research, and a constant theme was the desirability of a central site where users could exchange news, swap tips and techniques, request help, store information (such as images and reprints) and generally build a community.

So, rather than talk about it further, I decided to get the ball rolling. Please feel free to join up if you wish. I look forward to seeing you on-line.

I am sending this invitation to people I've corresponded with personally in the fairly recent past. Please feel free to extend the invitation to others as you see fit.

Please share your experiences and questions, your observations and light or dark respirometric desires, and help this community to grow.

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