Institute of Medical Psychology

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Molecular Chronobiology - Merrow Lab

 martha merrow        Prof. Martha Merrow, Ph.D.

 We are all ruled by our circadian clocks ! They specify when we sleep and wake, how well we perform, how we feel. They even regulate the speed of our heartbeat! The Molecular Chronobiology lab at the IMP tries to explain circadian behavior from the lowest levels of complexity – molecules and cells – to understand circadian clock properties and behaviour.
What are our tools? We favour simple model systems, such as human tissue culture cells, Neurospora crassa, C. elegans, Saccahromyces cerevisiae and Bacillus subtilis. We use entrained phase of the clock (when oscillations occur in a zeitgeber cycle) to understand how the clock is functions. We follow molecular oscillations from RNA to protein to post-transcriptional modifications, when possible, using high-throughput methods (luciferase and GFP reporters, proteomics and transcriptomics).
We observe that clocks in the simplest systems share properties with those described over the last decades for organisms. This makes the concept of ‘circadian organisation’ – how the system comes together to function as an orderly unit - a singular challenge of the circadian clock.