Spotted hyenaWhile visting friends yesterday to watch MSU kick UConn ass in the Final Four1 I learned about the wonderful MSU hyena blog. MSU researcher Kay Holekamp has been studying spotted hyenas for many years; this blog is from their field camp in the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya.  Amazing pictures, great stories.

I don’t think I’ve met Holekamp herself, but a couple of her students took my grad immunology class last year; they’re interested in using MHC to identify hyenas, and in hyena immunity in general:

Spotted hyenas seem to be particularly adept at dealing with microbes that would make you or I extremely sick. … If the behavior of avoiding rotting meat is an effective way of avoiding infection, why are hyenas so willing to eat it? … I am particularly interested in finding out how the hyena immune system is able to withstand the inexhaustible onslaught of microbes that seeks to exploit them.

  1. Translation for non-US audience: College basketball[]