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Rhythms of the Body and Mind: Circadian and Sleep-

Wake Dependent Regulation of Physiology and


The average European life lasts for more than 28,000 days and each of these days is 24

hours long. Intriguingly, despite travelling across time zones or seasonal changes in day

length our body keeps an astonishingly precise timing of these 24 hours. Moreover, we can

flexibly adapt to changes in the environment (e. g., when travelling across time zones). This

stability and flexibility of our ‘internal clock’ is brought about by the so-called circadian (from

Latin “approximately one day”) timing system, which is located in the brain. In everyday life,

the effects of this internal biological clock become most obvious when looking at the human

sleep-wake cycle. However, beyond this, they influence a plethora of bodily processes rang-

ing from the level of gene expression to higher cognitive functions.

In this working group, we are going to learn about the circadian timing system from a (neuro-)

biological perspective. Building upon this, we will then have a closer look at circadian varia-

tions in cognitive processes and how the understanding from basic research can for example

be applied to counteract negative effects of time of day during shift work. We will also look at

how the circadian system relates to medical conditions and specifically psychiatric disorders.

Finally, we will learn about how the circadian timing system changes across the life-span.

Theoretical sessions will be complemented by practical parts wherever possible.

Dr. Christine Blume

Fachbereich Psychologie und Centre for Cognitive Neuroscience Salzburg

(CCNS), Labor für Schlaf-, Kognitions- und Bewusstseinsforschung, Universität

Salzburg / Österreich

Nayantara Santhi, Ph.D.

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences, Surrey Sleep Research Centre, University

of Surrey / Großbritannien

Studierende der Humanmedizin und Gesundheitswissenschaften sowie der Kogniti-

ons- und Erziehungswissenschaften, Psychologie und Biowissenschaften


ab dem 5. Semester und Doktoranden


28. August bis 7. September 2017