Neurobiology of Biological Clocks
Department of Biological Sciences
8260A MRB III
I am interested in understanding the mechanisms by which circadian oscillators (biological clocks) in the nervous system regulate daily rhythms of behavior. My current research utilizes invertebrate preparations as model systems to investigate specific questions about the development, anatomy, and physiology of biological clocks. In the cockroach, I have developed a relatively complete description of the anatomical organizations of the circadian system so that for example, we know quite precisely where the clock is located in the nervous system. I am currently using that information as a foundation to explore a variety of additional specific questions about the physiology and function of the circadian system. One area we have just begun to focus on is the regulation of insect olfactory learning and memory by the circadian system. We have recently discovered that the ability to form new memories is regulated by the biological clock– there are some times of day that cockroaches learn very well and other times where they are unable to learn at all. Current research is involved with trying to understand the mechanism and significance of circadian regulation of learning and memory.
Decker, S., S. McConnaughey, and T.L. Page (2007) Circadian regulation of insect olfactory learning. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA 104:15905-15910.