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Epigenetic mechanisms in body clock development

Project Description

The environment experienced after birth has long-term consequences on the individual’s later health and behaviour. The Canal lab has demonstrated that bright light exposure during the first few postnatal weeks affects the animal’s biological clock at the brain and peripheral organ level, together with their physiology and behaviour. The aim of this project is to determine the critical window during development when the clock is more sensitive to environmental light and to investigate the epigenetic mechanisms underlying brain clock programming. Students joining the lab will gain expertise in animal physiology, tissue culture and molecular biology.

Funding Notes

This project has a Band 3 fee. Details of our different fee bands can be found on our website. For information on how to apply for this project, please visit the Faculty of Biology, Medicine and Health Doctoral Academy website. Informal enquiries may be made directly to the primary supervisor.


2014 Brooks E., Patel D., M.M. Canal. Programming of mice circadian photic responses by postnatal light environment. PLoSONE 9(5): e97160. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0097160.
2013 Brooks E., M.M. Canal. Development of circadian rhythms: Role of postnatal light environment. Neurosci. Biobehav. Rev., 37:551-560.
2013 Begum G, Davies A, Stevens A, Oliver M, Jaquiery A, Challis J, Harding J, Bloomfield F, White A. Maternal Undernutrition Programs Epigenetic Changes in the Glucocorticoid Receptor in Adult Offspring. Endocrinology 154 (12), 4560-4569.
2012 Begum G, Stevens A, Bolton Smith E, Connor K, Challis J, Bloomfield F, White A. Epigenetic changes in fetal hypothalamic energy regulating pathways are associated with maternal undernutrition and twinning. FASEB J (26) 4, 1694-1703.
2011 Brooks E., E. Waters, L. Farrington, M.M. Canal. Differential hypothalamic hydroxylase distribution and activation by light in adult mice reared under different light conditions during the suckling period. Brain Struct. Funct. 216:357-370.

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