The Institute for Medical Psychology (the IMP) is one of the pre-clinical departments at the LMU Medical School. In our teaching, we are responsible for introducing first and second year medical students to topics ranging from logical thinking to psychophysics to communication. We participate in the Longitudinal Course (L Kurs) that runs through the entire Medical training program, emphasising the tremendous role of so-called soft-skills in practicing medicine.
In our research, we span topics in Medical Psychology, including placebo and sleep, but our department-wide focus is Chronobiology or the daily biological clock. Although daily timing in humans is our ultimate interest, our work spans from molecular to behavior.
In association with the EUROPEAN BIOLOGICAL RHYTHMS SOCIETY we host the XIII EBRS Congress, August 18-22, 2013 at the Medical School of our University
Circadian regulation of olfaction and an evolutionarily conserved, nontranscriptional marker in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Olmedo M, O'Neill JS, Edgar RS, Valekunja UK, Reddy AB, Merrow M.
Circadian clocks provide a temporal structure to processes from gene expression to behavior in organisms from all phyla. Most clocks are synchronized to the environment by alternations of light and dark. However, many organisms experience only muted daily environmental cycles due to their lightless spatial niches (e.g., caves or soil). This has led to speculation that they may dispense with the daily clock. However, recent reports contradict this notion, showing various behavioral and molecular rhythms in Caenorhabditis elegans and in blind cave fish. Based on the ecology of nematodes, we applied low-amplitude temperature cycles to synchronize populations of animals through development. This entrainment regime reveals rhythms on multiple levels: in olfactory cued behavior, in RNA and protein abundance, and in the oxidation state of a broadly conserved peroxiredoxin protein. Our work links the nematode clock with that of other clock model systems; it also emphasizes the importance of daily rhythms in sensory functions that are likely to impact on organism fitness and population structure.
Here is a lonk where people can download the paper:
‘Peroxiredoxins are conserved markers of circadian rhythms’ by R. Edgar*, E. Green*, Y. Zhao*, G. van Ooijen*, Maria Olmedo*, X. Qin, Y. Xu, M. Pan, U. Valekunja, K. Feeney, E. Maywood, M. Hastings, N. Baliga, Martha Merrow, A. Millar, C. Johnson, C. Kyriacou, J. O'Neill, A. Reddy in Nature, 2012 May 16;485(7399):459-64. doi: 10.1038/nature11088. (Names with asterisks * are shared first authors.) http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature11088.html
In this work, a worldwide collaboration shows that the oxidation state of PRX oscillates with a 24h rhythm in prokaryotes, archaea, fungi, plants and animals. This oscillation furthermore continues in mutants that were previously thought to lack a functioning clock, thus revealing elements of a primordial clock system. Maria Olmedo of the IMP is a co-first author!