Just as the earth rotates in a 24-hour cycle, humans and other animals have an internal rhythm. Penn researchers have been working to identify the molecules and pathways that maintain our sleep-wake clock or circadian rhythm. They’ve also made inroads into understanding how malfunctions in the clock influence — or even trigger — disease.
Penn researchers have identified key components of the clock and uncovered previously unappreciated 8- and 12-hour biological cycles. Investigators have also identified molecules that link metabolism to the clock cycle. Read more.
Biologists have known for some years that disruptions in the circadian rhythm — such as shift work — can increase the risk of diseases, including diabetes and heart disease. Recently, Penn scientists have learned that changes in one or two clock-related genes can drive fatty liver disease. These new insights may pave the way to novel treatments for chronic diseases. Read more.
Few of us would think we resemble fruit flies in our daily rhythms and habits, but one Penn investigator has used these familiar insects to uncover hidden secrets of the circadian clock. Read more.