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Adaptive value of circadian clocks in mammals

Principal Supervisor: Dr. Robert Dallmann, Warwick Medical School

Co-supervisor: Prof. David R. Rand

PhD project title: Adaptive value of circadian clocks in mammals

University of Registration: University of Warwick

Project outline:

Circadian clocks have been found in all living organisms reaching from simple bacteria to mammals. Principal building mechanisms are conserved though not necessarily the key players. It is generally accepted that all organisms have circadian clocks because they optimize most key physiological processes. It is assumed that disruption of the clock leads to maladaptation and selection disadvantage. Therefore, clocks are assumed to convey a selective advantage. The best real evidence, to date, was supplied in cyanobacteria by showing that cyanobacteria with a clock close to the environmental cycles were outgrowing those with non-resonating clocks. This has never been shown for eukaryotic cells. Using real-time bioluminescence and fluorescence reporters this question will be tackled in vitro and in vivo.


  1. Woelfle, M. A., Y. Ouyang, K. Phanvijhitsiri and C. H. Johnson (2004). "The adaptive value of circadian clocks: an experimental assessment in cyanobacteria." Curr Biol 14(16): 1481-1486.
  2. Brown, S. A., E. Kowalska and R. Dallmann (2012). "(Re)inventing the circadian feedback loop." Dev Cell 22(3): 477-487.

BBSRC Strategic Research Priority: Molecules Cells and systems / Clock systems

  • Techniques that will be undertaken during the project:
  • Circadian behavioural analysis
  • Tissue and cell culture
  • Next Generation Sequencing
  • Systems biology – NGS data analysis and gene network analysis
  • Viral vector generation and viral gene delivery
  • In vitro cellular and in vivo whole animal imaging

Contact: Dr Robert Dallmann, University of Warwick