Abstract: Series 103, Lecture 1

The Harvey Lectures Series 103 (2007—2008)

next lecture

Lecture #1: Thursday, October 18, 2007 — Time and Location

Clock Genes, Cell Autonomy and Circadian Organization in Mammals

Joseph S Takahashi, PhD

Joseph S Takahashi, PhD

Investigator, Howard Hughes Medical Institute
Walter and Mary E Glass Professor in the Life Sciences
Department of Neurobiology and Physiology

Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Northwestern University

Evanston, Illinois

Dr Takahashi's Website

Circadian rhythms represent an evolutionarily conserved adaptation to the environment that can be traced back to the earliest life forms. In animals circadian behavior can be analyzed as an integrated system - beginning with genes leading ultimately to behavioral outputs. In the last decade, the molecular mechanism of circadian clocks has been uncovered by the use of phenotype-driven (forward) genetic analysis in a number of model systems. The discovery of ‘clock genes’ also led to the realization that the capacity for circadian gene expression is widespread throughout the body in mammals. The cellular autonomy of circadian clocks has raised a number of questions concerning synchronization and coherence of rhythms at the cellular level as well as circadian organization at the systems level. I will discuss recent work that addresses these issues and that examines a number of levels of complexity within the circadian system.

Lecture Sponsor: Merck Research Laboratories

Merck Research Laboratories