McClung Talks Biological Clocks and Psychiatric Disorders: Science Inspires Series

Posted on 3/30/2015 4:18:33 PM

Colleen McClung (University of Pittsburgh) will present her talk “It’s That Time of Day Again: Biological Clocks and Psychiatric Disorders” on April 9, 2015, at 3:45 p.m. in the Eberly Auditorium. 

McClung is the distinguished guest for this semester’s Science Inspires Series. The series features talks on subjects from across the scientific disciplines presented by exceptional faculty and distinguished guests.

From McClung’s lab web page: “The Laboratory of Dr. Colleen McClung is interested in discovering the molecular mechanisms of bipolar disorder, major depression and drug addiction. There is a particular interest in studying the association between these various psychiatric disorders and the circadian clock. The laboratory combines molecular and behavioral assays to determine more specifically how circadian rhythms and individual circadian genes regulate mood and addiction.”

The abstract for McClung’s talk is included below:

It’s That Time of the Day Again: Biological Clocks, Behaviour, and Psychiatric Disorders

Colleen McClung, PhD

Psychiatric disorders affect a large portion of the population and can be a huge burden for individuals and their families. Nearly all people suffering from psychiatric disorders have significant disruptions in circadian rhythms and the sleep/wake cycle. In fact, disrupted sleep patterns are one of the major diagnostic criteria for these disorders listed in the DSM V. There are several human genetic studies that have identified specific polymorphisms in circadian genes that associate with a range of psychiatric conditions. Furthermore, environmental disruptions to circadian rhythms, including shift work, travel across time zones, and irregular social schedules, can precipitate or exacerbate mood-related episodes, or put individuals at risk for substance abuse. Recent studies have found that molecular clocks are located throughout the brain and body where they participate in the regulation of most physiological processes, including those thought to be involved in mood and reward regulation.

My lecture will summarize recent clinical and basic research findings from our group and others which implicate the circadian system as an important regulator of monoaminergic systems which are thought to play a role in the development of psychiatric disorders. I will also discuss the role of the master pacemaker in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and the development of novel treatments that target the circadian system.

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics