Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How can fungi help to understand human sleep disorders?

Biology major Wendy Dria has been performing independent research with AU Microbiologist Dr. Andrew Greene for the past year and is continuing her work this summer into the internal clock mechanism that maintains biological rhythms.

"The project that I am working on is the identification of circadian clock-associated proteins in the fungi Aspergillus nidulans and Aspergillus flavus.  Circadian rhythms are ~24 hr long cycles of behavioral processes that occur throughout the day that can be monitored or set using light/dark or temperature cycles. We are using the fungus Aspergillus as our model organism because its circadian rhythm cycles can easily be monitored.  Fungal circadian rhythm research can be applied to human sleep disorders because the properties of the clock are similar. I have identified many proteins involved in the circadian rhythm clock and I am currently trying to confirm their identity and cycling using real-time PCR."
- Wendy Dria 

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