My PhD project aims to study the light input on the biological clock in diurnal species, including humans, and develop strategies to strengthen diurnal clock function. The majority of biological clock research has been performed in nocturnal species, whereas diurnal species have been rather neglected. We have evidence that the diurnal clock reacts fundamentally different to light input compared to nocturnal species. The light response of the human biological clock will be measured using fMRI. Test subjects in the MRI scanner will be exposed to light of different wavelengths using custom-made light emitting glasses. In the diurnal Arvicanthis ansorgei, we will perform in vivo and ex vivo electrophysiology and calcium imaging techniques, to measure the clock neuron response to light. Identifying factors that improve clock function in diurnal species will be essential for improving human health.
I studied Biomedical Sciences at the Leiden University Medical Center, the Netherlands. During my Master’s, I did an internship in the Neurophysiology group under supervision of Prof. dr. Joke Meijer, in which I investigated the role of cone photoreceptors in the light input into the biological clock. After my graduation, I was offered a PhD position by Prof. dr. Joke Meijer, which I started in December 2017.