Director of neuroscience to talk about brain’s internal clock

Looking into how human behavior is affected by the brain’s internal clock, Martha Gillette, director of the University’s neuroscience program and professor in LAS, will speak at a seminar to discuss the dynamics of brain metabolism and sleep.

The seminar will take place at noon on Thursday.

As a guest speaker of the Beckman Institute Director’s Seminar, Gillette will be sharing her insights into the biological clocks within the body, in particular, the brain.

Through “The Clocks that Time Us: Dynamics in Brain Metabolism and Sleep,” Gillette will introduce the concept of circadian clocks as fundamental components of life.

Patricia Jones, associate director of research at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology, said in an email that Gillette was asked to be a part of the Institute’s Director Seminar Series back in the fall semester last year.

The Director’s Seminar Series is a monthly series that started as one of the institute’s first programs back when it opened in 1989, Jones said.

Open to all students, Gillette said she hopes attendees will gain a broader understanding of how the brain changes between night and day and how this affects daily activities and health.

“I will explain the basis of why we have trouble with the spring shift to Daylight Saving Time, which happens early next Sunday morning! I will mention ways to minimize this type of jet lag,” Gillette said.

Presenting new insights on the importance of restorative sleep and its modulation by the brain clock, Gillette will also discuss the daily oscillations in the brain’s metabolism and brain-cell activity modulation.

Discussing important health applications, Gillette will focus on the inner workings of the body associated with the brain and a new role of sleep in clearing waste toxins from the brain.

“Professor Gillette is world-famous for her work on the cell biology of circadian rhythms, also known as ‘biological clocks,’” Jones said.

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