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The causes and consequences of cellular circadian rhythms

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Circadian (approximately daily) rhythms are cell-autonomous oscillations that permeate every level of biology, and thereby impact upon many aspects of health and disease. In humans for example, our sleep/wake cycle has a clear circadian rhythm; whereas clock disruption, as occurs during shift work, is strongly associated with conditions such metabolic syndrome, cardiovascular disease and various cancers. Current evidence suggests that whilst cycles of nascent ‘clock gene’ expression are required for daily rhythms in behaviour and physiology, they are insufficient to explain circadian timekeeping at the cellular level. Our current research is focused on understanding the cellular clock mechanism and how it facilitates temporal regulation of biological function. I will talk about the way in which circadian rhythms of actin cytoskeletal dynamics regulate fibroblast motility during wound healing, as well as an evolutionarily conserved rhythm in cellular magnesium transport, as examples of our recent work.

This talk is part of the Foster Talks series.

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