Casey O. Diekman
Department of Mathematical Sciences
New Jersey Institute of Technology
April 19, 2016
Multi-Level Regulation in the Mammalian Circadian Clock
Circadian (~24-hour) rhythms offer one of the clearest examples of the interplay between different levels of nervous system organization, with dynamic changes in gene expression leading to daily rhythms in neural activity, physiology, and behavior. The main output signal of the master circadian clock in mammals has long been believed to be a simple day/night difference in the firing rate of neurons within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN). Our recent findings challenge this theory, and demonstrate that a substantial portion of SCN neurons exhibit a more complex and counterintuitive set of electrical state transitions throughout the day/night cycle. In this talk, I will attempt to provide a mathematical understanding of these daily transitions in SCN electrical state and the functional roles they play in the mammalian circadian clock.