Dr. Jennifer Evans, professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Health Sciences and an expert in circadian rhythmicty, has been awarded a $424,000 R21 grant award from the National Institutes of Health to study a critical region of the brain responsible for regulating the body’s “internal clock.”
Evan’s research will focus on a small area in the hypothalamus called the suprachiasmatic nucleus and how mutations in circadian clock genes affect the nucleus’ function and coordination of circadian processes throughout the body.
“A disruption of circadian rhythms has been linked to a growing number of diseases including the risk of cancer, impaired cognition and severe immunodeficiency,” Evans says. “Investigating mutations in circadian clock genes will generate novel insights into how circadian organization of physiology and behavior is maintained under normal conditions and degraded under pathological states.”
“Dr. Evans’ research into circadian rhythmicity is rapidly advancing our understanding of the physiology and coordination of body processes, including sleep patterns, body temperature fluctuations and the timing of hormonal secretions,” Baker says. “Her exploration of genetic mutations associated with these diurnal alterations patterns presents an opportunity to more fully understand these changes, and to generate foundational data for the development of novel treatments capable of alleviating a long list of health risks associated with disrupted circadian rhythmicity.
To learn more about Dr. Evans’ research, click here.