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Researching fundamental rhythms of life
Date:8/26/2014

Casey Diekman, assistant professor of mathematical sciences at New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), is helping to gain greater insight into the biological clock that sets the pace for daily life.

Evolution has harmonized the behavior of humans and all other mammals with fundamental rhythms of life that include the cycle of light and dark experienced each day and with seasonal change. The brain's circadian clock controls hormone production related to natural patterns of sleep/wake behavior which, when disrupted by experiences such as jet lag or night-shift work, can have adverse health effects. It's a vital physiological process intrinsic to our mood and alertness, but one that has yet to be fully understood.

Gaining greater insight into the biological clock that sets the pace for daily life is the focus of a transatlantic research effort involving Casey Diekman, assistant professor in NJIT's Department of Mathematical Sciences. Diekman's work, which is being funded by a three-year grant of more than $233,000 from the National Science Foundation (NSF), could yield new knowledge for the U.S. national BRAIN Initiative an acronym for Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies.

Model Contributions

Diekman joined the NJIT faculty in 2013, after post-doctoral work at the NSF-funded Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State University. His primary goal as the NSF grant's principal investigator is to develop mathematical models that will promote understanding of the role that our internal clock's electrical activity plays in circadian timekeeping, in particular the way the clock responds to the natural light/dark cycle.

Diekman is collaborating with Professor Hugh Piggins and Research Associate Mino Belle at the University of Manchester in England. Piggins' laboratory is providing experimental biological data about electrical activity in the brain at the cellular level, specifically wit
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Contact: Tanya Klein
973-596-3433
New Jersey Institute of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

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