Our laboratory is interested in understanding how neural systems encode time and generate rhythmic physiological and behavioral outputs to adapt to the temporal structure of the environment. We use a comparative approach that capitalizes on animal models that range from the laboratory mouse to humans.

Virtually all living species have biological clocks that generate and control the daily cyclic variations in physiology and behavior, such us the sleep-wake cycle, rhythms in locomotor activity, core body temperature and hormonal secretion. In mammals, the master control of these so-called circadian rhythms is exerted by a biological clock located within the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the brain. We use behavioral, physiological and molecular techniques in order to understand how the SCN, in concert with other circadian oscillators in the brain, generates and orchestrates this array of circadian rhythms. We also study human circadian rhthms through non-invasive methods to assess the effect of electric light and the urban environment on the timing and quality of sleep.