Institute of Medical Psychology
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Research

In our research, we cover topics in Medical Psychology, including placebo  and sleep , but our department-wide focus is Chronobiology or the daily biological clock. The circadian timing system ensures that almost our entire behavioural repertoire – from mood to perception and performance – changes over the course of the day. Long ago, Andre Gide has expressed this perfectly: “if I were not there to make them acquainted, my morning’s self would not recognize my evening’s. Nothing could be more different from me than myself”. We aim to describe how the clock network behaves, from molecule to organism, and even society.

We start at the basic level: every cell in our bodies is a clock, with processes from genes to metabolism following a daily oscillation. We are interested in the molecular  mechanisms of the circadian clock, which include a transcription factors as well as post-transcriptional mechanisms. We want to know how complex and robust intracellular and intercellular networks of molecular oscillators synchronise to yield a characteristic phase or time of day. We work with ‘emerging’ model genetic systems  to gain novel insights on clock mechanisms.

The timing of behavior in humans  is our ultimate interest and it is the clock in combination with the cyclic environment that determines this.  The circadian clock is a highly complex genetic  trait, yielding a distribution of chronotypes in the normal population. We work from highly controlled situations (in our Sleep Lab) to life in the real world (e.g. Shift  work) to understand how modern society can adapt the social clock to the biological one (social jetlag ).

 

 

  • Molecular Chronobiology - Merrow Lab

  • Human Chronobiology - Roenneberg Lab

  • Systems Chronobiology-Robles Lab

    The circadian clock is an endogenous timing system that regulates in a daily manner physiological functions and behavior by modulating gene expression and protein function. Circadian control of transcription regulation is widely studied however the understanding of circadian dynamics in protein function is in its infancy. My work in the last years has pioneered the use of mass-spectrometry (MS) based quantitative proteomics to study temporal dynamics of protein abundance, cellular localization and post-transcriptional modifications (PTMs). This technology has thus proven instrumental in chronobiology to comprehensively understand post-translational mechanism regulating circadian metabolism and physiology. Our group will continue using this state of the art technology to further study basic circadian molecular mechanism as well as metabolic, behavioral and cognitive disorders associated with circadian asynchrony, a condition frequently associated with modern life styles. more

  • Placebo Research-Meissner Lab

  • Cognitive Neurosciences-Pöppel Group

  • Publications


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