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Randel L. Swanson II
Thesis Advisor: Venkat Venkataraman, Ph.D.
Cell and Molecular Biology Program
Science Center, Room 290
Thursday, April 30, 2009
Circadian rhythms govern multiple physiological activities of daily life. The endogenous circadian clock is entrained by light. Cyclic GMP plays a critical role in this entrainment and phase setting. However, the mechanism by which it is regulated is unclear. In my thesis, I have investigated the role of neuronal calcium sensor proteins in circadian rhythms. Cell lines and animal model systems have been used. I have demonstrated that there is a circadian variation in the mRNA and protein levels of neuronal calcium sensor proteins. The oscillations are detected in multiple tissues where they may be driving different physiological functions. The findings provide an explanation for different neurons responding to the same signal in a differential fashion and enable a tight coupling of the system to calcium, which is already an established regulator of the generation and maintenance of circadian rhythms.