University of Leicester Department of Genetics to hold body clock open day on June 7

Leicester, UK, 14-5-2014 — /EuropaWire/ — The University of Leicester Department of Genetics is to hold an open day on Saturday 7 June where the technological impact of modern life on our natural body clock will be discussed.

Today is the BBC’s Day of the Body Clock exploring the eight body clock phases: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27161671

Professor Bambos Kyriacou, from the University of Leicester, said: “Technological advances have permitted society to escape the temporal constraints usually imposed by the natural environment, thus allowing altered and irregular behavioural patterns, meal schedules and lightning regimes.

“Even social commitments and hectic work schedules challenge our internal clock, causing a syndrome which is generally referred to as “social jetlag”.

“Recently, a wide variety of diseases and health problems have been shown to be mediated or aggravated by chronic disturbance of the circadian clock. Shift-work, for example, provokes a continuous resetting of the circadian clock, which causes sleep, gastrointestinal and cardiac problems, hypertension, obesity and it has even been shown to correlate with cancer.

“Moreover, the efficiency of certain drugs is dependent on the time of delivery. It is thus possible to increase the therapeutic potential and minimize toxic effects by optimizing the timing schedule of drug administration. For all these reasons, a deep understanding of how the biological clock works will eventually lead to an improvement of our lifestyle.”

Leicester’s research focuses on the study of insect biological timing. Body clocks are molecular mechanisms that regulate biological processes with display oscillation of about 24 hours. They allow organisms to predict the daily environmental fluctuations due to the Earth’s rotation around its axis.  What is interesting about insects is that they have exactly the same clock molecules as we humans and all our advances in understanding human clock genes have come initially from identifying these molecules in the fruitfly.

Professor Kyriacou, team leader of the research laboratory, explains the importance of body clocks and the use of model organisms in our research:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IItxLliRy-c

An Open Day to raise awareness on the subject of biological clocks and the use of insects in genetic research is taking place on Saturday 7 June. More info of the event can be found here:

http://insectime.org/main/community/outreach-symposium/

NOTES TO NEWSDESK:

More info contact:

Dr Valeria Zonato

Genetics Department,
University Road
Leicester
LE1 7RH
United Kingdom

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