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Nutritional Sciences News & Highlights


Circadian Clock Genes And The Importance of Timing in Aging and Longevity

Circadian Clock Genes And The Importance of Timing in Aging and Longevity

Distinguished Lecturer 2021: Dr. Takahashi's Biography

"When we started this, no one had ever used this process before in a mouse to find a gene controlling behavior. They thought it was too risky and complex... like winning the lottery. 

by Dr. Joseph Takahashi

A renowned expert in genetics and neuroscience, Dr. Joseph Takahashi studies the molecular and genetic underpinnings of circadian rhythm regulation in mammals. After graduating with his PhD in neuroscience from the University of Oregon, Dr. Takahashi worked at the National Institute of Mental Health and Northwestern University before securing his current appointment at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, where he holds the Loyd B. Sands Distinguished Chair in Neuroscience and serves as a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator.

Dr. Takahashi has authored more than 260 scientific publications and has received awards including but not limited to the Honma Prize in Biological Rhythms Research and the Bristol-Myers Squibb Unrestricted Grant in Neuroscience. He has served on several advisory committees for the National Institutes of Health and scientific advisory boards for the Genomics Research Institute for the Novartis Foundation and Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry, amongst others. A co-founder of Hypnion, Inc. and ReSet Therapeutics, Inc., Dr. Takahashi's work has included investigating sleep/wake neurobiology and pharmaceuticals and the role of clocks in metabolism.

Among his most notable achievements, Dr. Takahashi's laboratory helped uncover the genetic basis of the circadian clock by using positional cloning to locate the Clock gene in a landmark 1997 Cell article. Within the next few years, his group would go on to discover a second clock gene known as Bmal1, elucidate many biological clock mechanisms, and transform the entire field of circadian rhythm research. His lab continues to study mammalian circadian rhythms, using novel genetic techniques in mice to identify genetic determinants of complex behaviors. 

CIRCADIAN Revelation 

Sleep has been a real mystery for centuries and we don't exactly understand why it is that we need to sleep. In recent years, Dr. Takahashi's discovery of the mammalian clock genes has paved the way for sleep research and discovering the effects that it has on our health. Dr. Takahashi devoted his life to figuring out the foundation of human behavior. Is our body set with predetermined biological factors or are we a product of the environmental factors around us? As a young boy, he was fascinated by animals and nature which led him to want to understand how it all works. When he became a professor at Northwestern University, he knew that the brain ran on a "clock", but he didn't exactly knew how this clock worked. He hypothesized that maybe there was a gene in the body that regulates this clock. One of the challenges that Dr. Takahashi faced was "how do you find a gene that you know nothing about?" He screened thousands of mice to see if they could find a clock mutant mouse. Check out the video down below to hear more about his findings.

Circadian Clock Genes and the importance of Timing in aging and longevity WEBINAR 

This Friday on 4/23 from 12-1PM, Dr. Takahashi will be giving a special webinar on this intriguing topic of circadian clock genes. If you are interested in attending this talk, simply click on the webinar link below in order to attend.