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Molecular and cellular mechanisms regulating sleep and biological clocks

University of Zurich

1 or 2 semesters

Project description

Sleep timing is regulated both by a biological "circadian" clock that directs us to sleep at particular times of day, and a homeostat that increases sleep pressure with increasing time awake. Our laboratory tries to understand this biological timing at a molecular level, using viral tools in both animal models and in primary human cells. From these studies, we have learned that a part of this coding in humans is genetically encoded: "larks" have biological clocks running measurably faster than "owls". Another part is environmentally determined by light, which rewires the neurons of clock tissues in the brain. In this project, the candidate will use viral technologies, organotypic slice culture, and in vivo imaging of mouse models to explore how clocks in different parts of the brain communicate with one another. The project is also open for recently graduated undergraduate students and graduate students. Research period will be on mutual agreement with the student and supervisor.

The project is available in the Fall and Spring semester.

Number of places available: 1 per semester.            

Faculty Department

Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology.

Chronobiology and Sleep Research Group, Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology.  Research in pharmacology aims at developing new and better ways to treat disease. The research activities of the 6 groups at our institute have a major focus on dysfunctions of the nervous system, including pain, epilepsy, sleep disorders, and anxiety, as well as novel imaging modalities to study such dysfunction. 

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