My Thesis Work

The most interesting way to talk about what I do for work is to say that I study the workings of the biological internal clock. This is the molecular pacemaker that we (and all other animals) have that blesses us with effects such as jet lag. It is a fairly complex network of molecular interactions, involving gene transcription, the making of the protein molecules, and their trafficking between the nucleus and cytosol of each cell.

Since I don't do any experiments, I rely on mathematical descriptions of those models which I then study with sophisticated mathematical tools. This is where your eye lids are starting to get heavy and you mind is wandering off .... so I will shut up. Here are links to my work and partial resume.

To get back to more interesting stuff, here is some circadian clock related info that might actually be useful to you in your daily life.

If you want to get drunk on a budget, you should drink after 10 pm. Alcohol is metabolized a lot slower then, because your liver goes to sleep (as should you....).

If you are afraid of heart attacks or strokes, take your aspirin at 7 am. Not only is this the time with the highest risk for heart attacks because that's when the bloodpressure is at its max, it also means that the aspirin stays in your system longer than if you took it at night. (Like 5 hours longer). Less drugs, more effect.

If you travel and are shifting your schedule, make sure you expose yourself to bright natural light early in the (local) morning. Later during the day, light input isn't processed effectively at all and does nothing to help you shift your clock. This applies to newborns as well - their little systems have to be primed to 'learn day and night'.

If you are in the unfortunate situation to receive a kidney transplant, make sure it be done at 8 am. Not only is the surgeon likely to be in good shape, it has also been shown that the time of transplantation is important for the success rate. (Well, in rats, that is, but you never know).

If you are trying to solve the energy crisis or global warming problem, try hardest at 3 pm. It's the time of maximum brain power. (If you are wondering 'What energy crisis? Global warming?' try reading this again at 3 pm, which would also be a good time to decide not to vote republican anymore. But that's a tangent...).

If you are working on curing cancer (besides working at 3 pm), you should read the literature on chemotherapy and circadian rhythms - apparently tumor cells divide at different times than regular cells, and chemotherapeutic drugs often attack during the time of cell division. This means that the timing of the administration can have a rather large effect on the outcome of the therapy and side effects.

If you are ready to give birth, and chose a natural birth, be prepared to stay up late. The highest birth rate (when outside influences are removed) is 4 am! (Deaths most often occur at 5 am).

If you (unlike me) have a position of actual importance and responsibility, say you run a nucular power plant, or are the captain of a large unsinkable ship, don't work the night shift. Chernobyl, the sinking of the Titanic, and many other tragic accidents were caused by side effects of the circadian clock - bad decisions are made at times when your brain wants to sleep.

If you know of any other cool circadian effect- let me know!