Full course description
Rhythms are everywhere. With Earth spinning along its’ axes, the moon turning around Earth, and Earth turning around the Sun: organisms are exposed to daily, lunar and seasonal cycles. These cycles have created rhythms at every level of biology. Present in everything from bacteria to plants to humans, ranging from a molecular level to complete behavior. Chronobiology is the scientific field that studies these rhythms; how they work, how they are regulated, how persistent they are, what happens when they are disturbed, how they contribute to health and disease, which behaviors are subjected to them, and more. In this course, these topics will be covered with examples from daily life. The focus will be on the importance of the biological clock: the coordinator of these rhythms. Chronobiology is an interdisciplinary research topic including different model organisms, and an enormous range of involved processes.
- Identify what biological rhythms are, describe them through chronobiological nomenclature and interpret usual chronobiological data presentation
- Recognize the factors that influence biological rhythms in organisms
- Explain the underlying molecular and neurobiological mechanism of circadian rhythms in the human body
- Give examples of which human body functions and behaviors are controlled by rhythms
- Explain how rhythms influence many types of human and animal behavior and apply the underlying theory to explain eating behavior and metabolism
- Experience a hands-on recording of own body rhythms in a basic experiment and learn to present the data and link it to scientific literature
- Defend the most important factors determining sleep behavior after performing a recording of your own sleep and analyzing this through comparing it with literature in a scientific report
- The course is open for all students, however the course has a focus biology so a background in biology is recommended.
Refinetti, R. (2016). Circadian Physiology. (3rd ed.) Boca Raton: CRC Press.
- L.M. Huiberts