Eric L. Bittman
My research concerns biological rhythms and their role in physiological coordination. Neurological and physiological processes must be coordinated in time in order for normal function to be achieved, and health is compromised when underlying oscillators are misaligned. Not only does jet lag indicate how health and performance can deteriorate, but neurogenesis and learning are compromised while addictive processes and neurodegenerative changes are aggravated when circadian oscillators are compromised. My work investigates the operation of transcriptional-translational feedback loops that underlie circadian rhythms in both the central hypothalamic pacemaker and its subordinate oscillators, as well as the connectome that links them.
A master clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus regulates the timing of a wide variety of functions elsewhere in the brain and in the peripheral organs. The molecular basis of the pacemaker is a transcriptional-translational feedback loop, and the expression of a handful of core clock genes determines the phase and period of circadian oscillations. We use immunocytochemical and molecular (hybridization) techniques to localize and quantify the expression of circadian clock as well as clock-controlled genes in the brain and peripheral organs. We are engaged in discovery of core clock components through mutational analysis, which is facilitated by the use of next generation sequencing and real-time luminescent reporting of circadian function in cell lines.
- BA: University of Pennsylvania, 1973
- Ph.D: University of California, Berkeley, 1978
- Postdoctoral: University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 1878-82
- Assistant Professor, Rockefeller University, 1983-1984
Monitoring and analysis of circadian patterns of activity and physiology relevant to sleep:wake patterns, health and disesase.