Ian van Tets, PhD

Ian van Tets
Associate Professor
WWAMI School of Medical Education
(907) 786-4705


  • 2014 - 2015 LLM, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT, Australia
  • 2011 - 2013 JD, University of Southern Queensland, Toowoomba, QLD, Australia
  • 1999 – 2002 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Midreshet Ben Gurion, Israel.
    • Research focus: Physiological ecology of small desert-dwelling birds & rodents
  • 1999 – 1999 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, Limburg University, Diepenbeek, Belgium.
    • Research focus: Signal transduction & actions of recently described Diuretic Hormones
  • 1996 - 1999 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, WP, South Africa.
    • Research focus: Pollen protein in the diet of small mammals.
  • 1991 - 1996 PhD, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW, Australia
    • Thesis title: Pollen protein in the diet of small mammals.
  • 1987 - 1991 BSc (Hons. I), Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia
    • Thesis title: Energy Assimilation Efficiency in birds: a comparative study.

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Alaska WWAMI School of Medical Education
    • MD A630: Circulatory Systems (Cardio, Pulmonary, Renal)
    • MD A650: Energetics & Homeostasis (Endocrinology & the Digestive System) 
  • UAA Department of Biological Sciences
    • BIOL A310: Principles of Animal Physiology
    • BIOL A321: Experiential Learning in Vertebrate Biology
    • BIOL A487: Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

Professional & Department Service

Director (Board Member)

  • Blood Bank of Alaska (incl. service as Board Secretary, Vice Chair & Chair)
  • Anchorage Community Mental Health Services (incl. service as Board Secretary)

Representative Assembly Member

  • United Academics, AAUP/AFT Local 4996

Research Interests

The physiological mechanisms that underlie ecological or pathological phenomena in small mammals, small birds and humans.  In particular, mechanisms associated with:

  • the effects of various behaviors on the risk and development of type II diabetes
  • the effects of seasonality on sub-arctic and arctic small mammals


  • Bogren, L.K., Johnston E.L., Barati Z., Martin P.A., Wojda S.J., van Tets I.G., LeBlanc A.D., Donahue S.W., and K.L. Drew. (2016) The effects of hibernation and forced disuse (neurectomy) on bone properties in arctic ground squirrels. Physiological Reports 4(10): 1-12.
  • Garton, S., van Tets, I.G., and Breinig J. (2013) Alaska Native engagement in higher education: challenges and issues. Proceedings of the Hawaii International Conference on Education  11: 3750-3753.
  • Pence, S.D., D.A. Chambers, I.G. van Tets, R.C. Wolf and D.C. Pfeiffer. (2011) Minimal enamel loss from long-term coronal polishing. Journal of Dental Hygiene 85(4): 347-356.
  • Infante S. and I.G. van Tets. (2009) Symptoms of alcohol-induced liver disease in rats that regularly drink alcohol. Ethnicity and Disease 19(2) (suppl. 3): 71-72.
  • Stevenson, K.T., I.G. van Tets and D.Y. Chon. (2009) Making no bones about it: Bone mineral density changes seasonally in a non-hibernating Alaskan rodent, the northern red-backed vole (Myodes rutilus). Journal of Mammalogy 90(1):25-31. 
  • Stevenson, K.T., I.G. van Tets and L.A. Nay. (2009) The seasonality of reproduction in photoperiod responsive and non-responsive northern red-backed voles (Myodes rutilus) in south central Alaska. Canadian Journal of Zoology 87(2):152-164. 
  • Aparicio, J. and I.G. van Tets. (2008) Symptoms of type II diabetes in the urine of rats that regularly drink alcohol. Ethnicity and Disease 18(2) (Suppl. 1): 49-50.
  • Stevenson, K.T. and I.G. van Tets. (2008) Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DXA) can accurately and non-destructively measure the body composition of small, free-living rodents. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 81(3):373-382. 
  • Lim F-F and I.G. van Tets. (2007) Do rats that frequently drink alcohol deposit fats in a way that increases their risk of type II diabetes? Ethnicity and Disease 17(4) (Suppl. 5): 30-32. 
  • Korine C., I. Vatnick I., I.G. van Tets and B. Pinshow. (2006) The influence of ambient temperature, and the energy and protein content of food on nitrogenous excretion in the Egyptian fruit bat. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 79(5):957-964.
  • Wilson, R.L. and I.G. van Tets. (2006) Using Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry to measure the effect of alcohol abuse on the bones and fat deposits of Long Evans rats. Ethnicity and Disease. 16(4) (Suppl. 5): 27-28.
  • Korine C., S. Daniel, I.G. van Tets, R. Yosef and B. Pinshow. (2004) Measuring fat mass in small birds by dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 77(3): 522-529.
  • Korine, C., I. Vatnick, I.G. van Tets, and B. Pinshow. (2003) New observations on urine contents in water deprived Negev desert rodents. Canadian Journal of Zoology. 81: 941-945.
  • van Tets, I.G., C. Korine, L. Roxburgh, and B. Pinshow (2001). Changes in the composition of the urine of yellow-vented bulbuls (Pycnonotus xanthopygos) are driven by ambient temperature and not by nitrogen or water intake. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology. 74:853-857.
  • van Tets, I. G. and S.W. Nicolson. (2001) Nutritional ecology of Protea pollination by rodents. In: African Small Mammals. Denys, C., L. Granjon, and A. Poulet. eds. Colloques et Séminaires - Editions de l' IRD, Paris. 311-320.
  • van Tets, I. G., K. Hutching, and S.W. Nicolson (2000) The relative merits of purified proteins and natural foods in studies of wildlife nutrition: the nitrogen requirements of a rodent pollinator. African Zoology 35: 207-215.
  • van Tets, I.G. and S.W. Nicolson. (2000) Pollen and the nitrogen requirements of the lesser double-collared sunbird, Nectarinia chalybea. Auk 117(3):826-830.
  • Johnson, S.A., I.G. van Tets, and S.W. Nicolson. (1999) Sugar preferences and xylose metabolism of a mammal pollinator, the Namaqua rock mouse (Aethomys namaquensis). Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 72(4): 438-443.
  • van Tets, I.G. and A.J. Hulbert. (1999) A comparison of the nitrogen requirements of the Eastern Pygmy Possum, Cercartetus nanus, on a pollen and on a mealworm diet. Physiological and Biochemical Zoology 72(2): 127-137.
  • van Tets, I.G. (1998) Can flower-feeding marsupials meet their nitrogen requirements on pollen in the field? Australian Mammalogy 20: 383-390.
  • van Tets, I.G. (1997) Extraction of nutrients from Protea pollen by African rodents. Belgian Journal of Zoology 127 (Suppl.): 59-65.
  • van Tets, I.G. and R.J. Whelan. (1997) Banksia pollen in the diet of Australian mammals. Ecography 20: 499-505.
  • van Tets, I.G. and G. Sanson (1996) Use of the Metabolisable Energy Co-efficient, *MEC, in bird studies: statistical power in taxa and food comparisons. Australian Journal of Zoology 44: 1-7. 

Career History/Work Experience

Program Director

  • Della Keats Health Sciences Summer Program 
  • Della Keats Biomedical Research Program


  • National Institutes of Health (NIH NIDDK), Commitment to Excellence Award
    • Received 2007 (research mentorship)
  • UAA Chancellors Award for Excellence
    • Received 2007 (Della Keats Program, diversity)
    • Nominated 2008 (Faculty member, diversity)
    • Nominated 2008 (Faculty member, service to students)
  • UAA Honors College, Faculty Mentor Exemplar Award,
    • Received 2009 (research mentorship)