Contribution of GABAergic signalling in the daily electrical excitability of suprachiasmatic nuclei circadian clock neurons

Principal investigator(s)Co-InvestigatorPhD student or Research Fellow(s)Project title
Dr Mino Belle Dr Casey Diekman, Dr Jamie Walker Dr Leandro Junges, Dr Francesca Spiga Contribution of GABAergic signalling in the daily electrical excitability of suprachiasmatic nuclei circadian clock neurons

 

Lay summary:

Most of our behaviour, such as our eating habits and sleeping patterns, follows a daily or circadian (24-hour) rhythm. These rhythms are controlled by an electrical “master clock” in the brain that is more active during the day than at night.

We know that the rhythmic activity of the master clock can break down in a number of diseases, during old-age, and when we are exposed to unusual light/dark cycles (e.g. jet-lag, shift-workers). When this occurs the consequences for our mental health and well-being are severe. Remarkably, we still do not know why the rhythms of the master clock break down.

A healthy and rhythmic master clock relies on chemical signals to ensure individual brain cells of the clock are operating in time with each other. In this project, we will be using biology and maths to understand how these chemical signals maintain the clock in a healthy state.

We hope to identify processes within the clock that cause its rhythms to break down. In the future, we would like to use this information to design new therapies that can restore healthy rhythmic activity, which will help to alleviate illnesses known to be associated with circadian rhythm disruption.

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