Sleep Circadian Neuroscience
Investigating the Role of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms in the Vulnerability to and Progression of Psychiatric Disorders
Principal investigator: Ryan Logan, PhD
Circadian rhythms are ~24-hour oscillations essential to nearly every biological process in the mammalian brain and body. Circadian rhythms are governed by a myriad of genetic (e.g.,gene variants) and environmental (e.g., light-dark cycles, mealtimes) factors. Alterations to these genetic and environmental factors can lead to circadian dysfunction. Disruption of circadian rhythms is strongly associated with a higher risk for psychiatric disorders, including mood and substance use disorders. Chronic stress and repeated substance use also have detrimental consequences on circadian rhythms, which likely contribute to psychiatric vulnerabilities.
Despite these relationships, much of the current work linking psychiatric disorders to circadian dysfunction is correlational, with few causal, mechanistic findings of therapeutic value.
To investigate these mechanisms, we use a combination of approaches and techniques to cut across multiple biological scales – from genetics to molecular signaling pathways within specific cell-types connected among neural circuits that ultimately regulate complex behaviors that are related to psychiatric disorders. We use a variety of approaches, including functional genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics, and computational biology, along with in vivo viral-mediated gene manipulation, intersectional genetics and genome editing, and large-volume whole organ imaging. We aim to integrate these approaches to further understand the mechanisms of complex behaviors related to stress, anhedonia, reward, and motivation, at the intersection of sleep and circadian rhythms, and mood and substance use disorders.