Identify Mechanisms Underlying Gender-Specific Behavioral Patterns
The laboratory uses a Drosophila model to understand the molecular mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and sleep. We and others have found that males and females exhibit different sleep:wake patterns. Whereas females have very well-consolidated sleep at night and take only a short afternoon nap, males have a prolonged afternoon siesta. The goal is to determine how these differences arise. At least some of these changes occur after fertilization and may involve transfer of molecules from males to females. The project will involve assays of behavior and testing of candidate molecules and cells through genetic assays.
Effects of Different Diets on Sleep:Wake Cycles
The laboratory uses a Drosophila model to identify the mechanisms underlying circadian rhythms and sleep. A current area of interest is the relationship between sleep and metabolism. Studies in humans suggest a link (with obesity associated with short sleep times), but the nature of the interaction is unclear. There is also evidence from animal models that the composition of the diet can affect circadian periodicity. To address these questions, we propose to examine the effect of different diets on sleep:wake cycles. If effects are found, we will test candidate pathways that could mediate this effect.