I am a neuroscientist specialized in research on circadian rhythms, or so called "chronobiology", which is a field that describes how daily fluctuations in sleep-wakefulness, social behavior, hormonal release, immune system mechanims and other bodily functions are controlled by a "body clock". I am also a dedicated university teacher, giving courses and lectures in neuroscience and gross anatomy.
2002-2004 Postdoctoral fellow Chronobiology, University of Virginia, Department of Biology, Charlottesville, VA, USA
1996-2001 PhD in Neuroscience/Doktor i medicinsk vetenskap, Karolinska Institutet, Department of Neuroscience, Stockholm, Sweden
1992-1996 MSc Biology, Stockholms Universitet, Stockholm, Sweden
Circadian rhythms in health and disease
We investigate cellular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythmicity and how these can be altered in diseases and conditions that are characterized by sleep and rhythm dysfunctions.
Human physiology and behavior undergo daily (circadian = 24 hr) rhythms that are generated by an internal “body clock”, the hypothalamic suprachiasmatic nuclei (SCN). Rhythms may become disturbed by internal or external factors, for instance in “jet lag”, which occurs after rapid traveling across time zones. Disturbed rhythms are also common in certain psychiatric disorders, neurodegenerative diseases and aging. Deciphering all components in the circadian machinery is a prerequisite for developing new therapeutic strategies to treat circadian rhythm disorders, and to bridge circadian research to the clinics.
Circa 24-h rhythmicity is generated by molecular feedback loops of rhythmically expressed genes and their protein products. Recent studies suggest that also neuronal membrane activity may play a crucial role in circadian rhythm generation. We use molecular imaging techniques to study neuronal rhythms from acute and organotypic SCN brain slices.
We study the impact of ion fluxes on the molecular clock, and effects of inflammatory molecules, chronic stress and sleeping sickness on the clock machinery. In a clinical collaboration project we also study rhythmic gene expression in fibroblasts from patients with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
The circadian pacemaker is located in the “suprachiasmatic nucleus” in hypothalamus. The molecular circadian clock activity in the suprachiasmatic nucleus is in the figure visualized using dynamic luciferase reporter technology. The figure shows raw data of luciferase activity monitored as bioluminescence (photon emission), which corresponds to the daily expression of the PERIOD 2 protein, one of the key players in the molecular clock. Three organotypic tissues (represented by black, red and blue) containing the suprachiasmatic nucleus from transgenic mice held in a 12 hr light:12 hr dark cycle were cultured for 12 days. The PERIOD 2 protein expression is typically high at the onset of subjective darkness and low at onset of subjective day.
Akademiska priser och utmärkelser
Docent Neuroscience 2014