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