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“Chronoarchitecture”, Hierarchical Structure of Central and Peripheral Clocks in Mammals

Shin Yamazaki
Department of Biological Sciences
615-322-8054 (office)

Biological rhythms are common phenomenon that can be seen in most living creatures. Time of flowering in plants, sleep wake cycles in humans and many of the daily change of physiology are known to be controlled by “internal” biological clocks. In mammals, the master biological clock is located in the hypothalamus of the brain in a structure called “suprachiasmatic nucleus”. Most of peripheral tissues are now known to be containing circadian oscillators. So the brain clock coordinates (orchestrates) the phase of each peripheral clock in tissue specific manners.  I am primarily interested in a basic understanding of circadian phenomena in mammals. Recent progress in the cloning of circadian genes in mammals as well as my discovery of peripheral clocks (circadian clocks outside the central nervous system) has raised the intriguing possibility that altered circadian rhythms are involved in human disease. Therefore my interests have extended further into translational studies which are aimed at understanding circadian mechanisms involved in disease.

Project 1: Basic Study of Circadian Organization in Mammals
Project 2: Analysis of Circadian Mechanisms Underlying Human Disorders
Project 3: Technology Development for Medical Diagnosis and Screening of Pharmaceutical Compounds for Application in Circadian Related Disorders.