Professor Ralf Stanewsky
Professor of Neurobiology
- Room: 4.28, Fogg building
- Telephone: +44 (0)20 7882 7718
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
My laboratory focuses on the circadian clock of the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster.
Circadian clocks govern behavioural and physiological biological rhythms occurring with ca. 24 hr periods - for example the human sleep/wake cycle or the rhythmic emergence of adult insects (eclosion). The fruit fly is a good model organism to study circadian clocks on a molecular and genetic level and recent research has revealed surprising similarities to mammalian (including the human) circadian clocks.
Circadian clocks are of endogenous nature in that they persist to drive biological rhythms under constant environmental conditions (i.e. not light-driven). Nevertheless, circadian clocks do communicate with the environment, and adjust their oscillations according to the natural light/dark and temperature cycles.
In my lab we study these communications in detail, using various genetic and molecular approaches. Doing this we were able to identify novel dedicated extraretinal circadian photoreceptors and mutations that specifically block synchronisation of the fly circadian clock to temperature cycles.
In the future we want to continue these studies and ultimately learn how the various environmental signals interplay to ensure the perfect synchronisation of the circadian clock with the environment. This synchronisation seems to be fundamental for the fitness of an organism, as it dictates, for example, when an animal is active during the day and exposed to certain predators. Given the substantial similarity between the fly and mammalian clock works, our studies might also help to understand human circadian clock synchronisation and to optimise the deleterious effects of sleep-disorders and shift work.
Personal website: www.stanewsky.org.uk
- Browse a list of publications by Ralf Stanewsky