We all know that proper diet, exercise, and sleep can improve our health. But emerging research suggests we might want to consider something else, too. Something so ubiquitous, few of us ever stop to reflect on it. That something is light. KPBS science reporter David Wagner profiled one San Diego researcher who's illuminating the importance of getting light in the right amount at the right time.
Formerly known as the Center for Chronobiology, our center now has a new name. Many people were uncertain of the meaning of "chronobiology" but were much more familiar with "circadian rhythms". So to enhance understanding while preserving our acronym (CCB), our new name will be "Center for Circadian Biology".
Susan Golden, CCB Director, has been named by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute an HHMI professor. The prestigious honor carries with it a $1 million grant over the next five years (see press release). Golden was one of 15 leading scientist-educators from 13 universities selected as HHMI professors following a competition that involved 173 competitive proposals. She will initiate a new undergraduate course at UCSD called the BioClock Studio, which will challenge students to translate and communicate research findings in a way that will shape education as well as public, medical and community behaviors related to circadian biology. Faculty and students will then work together to prepare an MOOC, a massive open online course, on circadian rhythms so everyone can learn more about the impact that changes in our biological clocks—from late-night shift work to jet lag—can have on our health.
The Center for Circadian Biology recently applied for and received an award from UCOP through the Research Opportunity Funds to seed a California-wide clocks initiative.
With this award the UCSD Center for Circadian Biology will develop tools and workshops to foster new collaborations in the California circadian community. The first step of this program is to develop a web-based tool that allows investigators to identify grand challenges in the field of Circadian Biology. This CCC website will serve as a virtual “think-tank” and will allow for the exchange of ideas and will provide the opportunity to match available resources with needs on a statewide level through the UC system. The top grand challenges that can be addressed through synergistic efforts between the UC Campuses will be discussed in more detail at our community session of the annual CCB Workshop. This novel addition to the annual CCB Workshop will bring together circadian researchers from several UC Campuses. During this session we will host a panel discussion outlining the grand challenges identified by the community on the website and we hope this will allow us to plan a course for addressing these challenges with the combined resources of the UC system.
Sonia Ancoli-Israel, CCB Executive Committee Member, received the Sleep Research Society (SRS) Distinguished Scientist Award, June 2, 2014.
This award, SRS's highest distinction for scientific advances in the field of sleep research, is presented to a single individual for research contributions over their entire career. The Distinguished Scientist Award recognizes significant, original and sustained contributions of a basic, clinical or theoretical nature. The award is presented each year at SLEEP, the Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies.
The Annual CCB Symposium, held on February 5-7, 2014, was once again a splendid success. We would like to announce and congratulate this year's poster prize winners: Most outstanding, Stephanie Papp (The Scripps Research Institute, Lamia Lab); our three best posters (in pictured order) Alicia Michael (UC Santa Cruz, Partch Lab), Federico Unglaub (CCB UCSD, Golden Lab), and Peter St. John (UC Santa Barbara).
The annual CCB Fall Workshop on Biological Timing, held on Friday, November 8, was once again a great success. The collaborative research discussion with circadian colleagues from other UCs was extremely productive. We congratulate all of the student/postdoc speakers, who gave uniformly excellent presentations. All will be rewarded with free registration to the 2014 international symposium "From Cells to Clinic," to be held February 5-7, 2014. Registration website: http://www.regonline.com/ccb.
Special kudos go to Pagkapol (Yhew) Pongsawakul for his presentation entitled "Regulation of second messenger pathways by cryptochrome." He won the prize for best trainee presentation, which will be a career-boosting invited speaker slot at our 2015 international symposium.
Please join us in congratulating all of our student/postdoc speakers, thanking all of our speakers and visiting UC faculty, and supporting the continued efforts of CCB to stimulate circadian biology research.
CCB Director Susan Golden was recently profiled in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Click here to view her profile.
Dr. Golden was also recently interviewed by one of her clocks students for an article in the Saltman Quarterly, the UCSD undergraduate journal.
Chronobiology is the biology of time and internal biological clocks. Biological clocks are found at all levels in living organisms. They range from oscillations found in nerve cells on the millisecond scale to oscillations in minutes, hours, days, and years in a variety of organisms and tissues. Although the commonly used phrase "your biological clock is ticking" relates to the window of years for becoming parents, many clocks are found in humans, such as the time to puberty, to menopause, and aging "clocks." Our research unit is focused primarily on one of these chronobiological phenomena: the daily or circadian clock.
Circadian rhythms are biological oscillations that recur with a period of approximately one day. The name circadian comes from the Latin circa, meaning "approximately," and diem or dies, "day". Health issues related to circadian rhythms include the problems associated with jet lag and shift work, seasonal depression, and time-of-day variations in response to medical treatments. Our Center for Circadian Biology is focused on these circadian rhythms, the underlying biological clock mechanisms that drive the rhythms, and their implications for human health and agriculture.
The clinical and medical relevance of chronobiology and circadian systems continues to grow in importance in shaping medical treatment, guiding research, providing new targets for drug development, and yielding insight into the inter-relatedness of various disease processes and circadian rhythms. Click here to learn more.