He travelled to Canada, America, Norway, Spain, Iceland, Italy, Austria and Japan in a bid to mimic the impressive talents of creatures including the Mako shark, peregrine falcon, gorilla, Darwin's Bark spider, hummingbird, grasshopper and Pompeii worm.
Andy, who has also worked on programmes including The One Show and Coast, said: "Not many people know about the Pompeii worm, but it lives in deep underwater volcanoes and is very heat resistant.
Thermal limit for metazoan life in question: in vivo heat tolerance of the Pompeii worm. PLoS One 8: e64074.
Molecular adaptation to an extreme environment: origin of the thermal stability of the pompeii worm collagen.
The "Pompeii worm
" (Alvinella pompejana) is a furry worm with red tentacles that can withstand the hottest temperatures of any animal, even short periods at 130[degrees]F (55[degrees]C).
There, along a sea bottom ridge known as the East Pacific Rise, vents spew out 500-degree water that provides a home for the Pompeii worm, the most heat-tolerant animal on the planet.
Henscheid and UO professor Andy Berglund are part of a team studying the Pompeii worm, hoping to figure out how it survives in some of the most extreme conditions the Earth can dish up.
The Pompeii worm is a hairy-looking creature about as long as a hand and draped in fuzzy gray filaments made up of bacteria.
Using the labs aboard Atlantis, Henscheid is analyzing Pompeii worm samples as part of her doctoral research focusing on a specific protein involved in the molecular process - called RNA splicing - that selects and pieces together genetic information carried in DNA.
The Pompeii worm keeps a cool head in that hot clime, however.
Nevertheless, the Pompeii worms weather extreme temperature shifts with impunity, since they often leave their hot tubes to forage outside in the 10 [degrees] C water.
Hemoglobin from the "Pompeii worm
," Alvinella pompejana, an annelid from a deep sea hot hydrothermal vent environment.