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Antonia Tomas-Loba

Tuesday 29 November 2016 - The Clock Over The Clock

Why almost everything in Nature is rhythmic? And beyond, why being rhythmic is healthy and arrhythmic is unhealthy?

Evolution has found a way to synchronize what is happening outside with our internal bodies in a complex way called Circadian Rhythms. This process is a 24h oscillations tuned by light, where the Suprachiasmatic Nucleus (SCN), in the hypothalamus, is able to transduce the light signal, in a refine cellular program that anticipates and synchronizes our body to external changes.

However not only light is an entrainment that regulates our physiology, but also feeding time, temperature, exercise, and other external cues, have the ability to fine tune our body with the environment. How this is coordinated in the brain to regulate body homeostasis, is an extremely interesting question that it has not been elucidated. Thus it is the first aim of the project.

What does happen when our biological rhythms are disrupted by being exposed to external cues at the wrong time of the day? We are increasing the risk of developing several diseases. Understanding how the circadian rhythm disruption leads to cancer and mood disorders and the connection between them, is another big aim I will work on.

In addition, it has been shown that p38 Mitogen Activated Kinase (p38 MAPK) proteins are activated by light in different models, but is known about its role beyond the SCN regulating more cues centres. The concept of p38 MAPK being the engager regulating different clocks is not fully defined in the circadian rhythm and MAPK fields and it is also one of my aims.