Nearly all biological functions, in nearly all organisms, are organized in the time domain. The daily appearance and disappearance of environmental light during evolution provided a framework within which animals could consolidate their activity and rest periods. The timing of behavior and other physiological activity is internalized, and is under the control of internal biological clocks called circadian oscillators.
In my lab, using mouse models, we strive to understand how these rhythms are controlled by the master oscillator in the brain, called the SCN. We also try to understand the consequences of disrupting the normal temporal harmony in the organism. For example, shift work is common in our society, and carries with it numerous health consequences such as increased rates of cancer. Our animal models simulate such lifestyles, and our studies are designed to determine exactly what is causing disease in these environments, and how this can be prevented.
Castanon-Cervantes, Oscar, Ph.D
Role: Lab Manager, Research Associate
Evans, Jennifer A., Ph.D.
Role: Research Associate
This mouse expresses a fusion protein involving the circadian clock gene Period 2, and firefly luciferase. In the presence of the substrate luciferin, cultured tissue from this mouse emits light in proportion to the presence of Per2, dynamically over time. This is used as an index of circadian clock status in the tissue. Homozygous on a C57BL/6 background.