Biological Clocks: a fascinating timekeeping system
Circadian rhythmicity is a fundamental process that governs daily rhythms at all levels of biology, including gene expression, metabolism, cell cycle, growth, physiology, behavior, sleep, cognition and reproduction. Precise control of this process is critical to life.
Since I began studying the biological rhythms of insects during graduate school, I have been fascinated with the accuracy of the circadian timing system and the phenomenal influence of the circadian clock on almost all biological activities. This fascination has fueled my interest in learning about circadian rhythms for more than a quarter of a century.
During this time, I have witnessed milestone discoveries in the field including:
- The identification of the pacemaker cells that control behavior and physiology
- Finding that single cells are capable of generating the circadian rhythm in multi-cellular organisms
- The identification of circadian mutants and cloning of genes involved in the timekeeping mechanism
- The function of negative and positive transcription-translation feedback loops
Our contributions to the field include discovering clocks in peripheral tissues in rodents.