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Session Summary

SRS-SRBR Symposium: Sleep Molecules Sleep disorders are prevalent in 50-70 million Americans and impact mental and physical health, safety and both work and academic performance. Molecular biology has been critical for the discovery of gene products that stimulate or inhibit sleep, as well as for the elucidation of transmitter and receptor systems that regulate specific sleep stages or signal sleep deficiency. This symposium will focus on Drosophila, mice and human studies that have revealed gene products, transmitter systems and metabolic pathways mediating circadian and homeostatic regulation of sleep, as well as pathways by which sleep disruption can feedback on circadian and homeostatic regulators.
Synthetic Oscillators: Design Principles Underlying Molecular Clocks While reductionist approaches have been effective in providing an understanding of circadian core-clock dynamics, there are still plenty of unanswered questions. As new tools for DNA editing and manipulation, and cell monitoring (i.e. microfluidics) have become available, it has been possible to design, implement and test synthetic gene circuits to deepen our understanding of natural oscillatory circuitries. In this context, the symposium will cover different perspectives including modeling of artificial oscillators exhibiting non-cooperative regulatory interactions, the importance of noise analyses for circuit design, and other approaches revealing key aspects underlying circadian clockworks. Thus, such studies not only allow a more precise view of clock mechanisms, but also open the doors for new strategies for clock intervention and improved strategies to tackle clock-based health problems.
Redox Regulation Of and By Clocks: Implications for Aging, Metabolism and Heart Disease Recent studies suggest a strong connection between circadian clocks and oxidation-reduction pathways. Essentially all clocks, regardless of their architecture, drive rhythms in redox-relevant metabolites and in the oxidation status of peroxiredoxins. Recent work has uncovered intimate connections between clocks and redox pathways underlying reproduction, heart disease, and aging. In this session, we will hear from experts in plant and mammalian circadian biology about their recent work on circadian regulation of redox pathways in the context of reproduction (flowering in plants), muscle physiology (related to heart disease, exercise, and aging), and cardiovascular adaptation to high altitude.
Evolution of Clocks and Sleep Much of our knowledge on the organization of rhythms in physiology and behavior including sleep is based on studies under tightly controlled laboratory conditions devoid of all the ecological demands and challenges that animals and humans are facing in the real world. A rapidly growing number of studies indicate that there is enormous phenotypic variation and flexibility in the organization of rhythms and sleep under natural conditions. Understanding the causes and mechanisms of this plasticity is not only important for gaining insight into the evolution and function of biological clocks and sleep, but it may also be of crucial importance for battling chronobiological problems and health issues of modern society such as sleep disturbance, shift work and jet lag.
Konopka Symposium: Timekeeping by Molecular and Neuronal Networks This Symposium is enabled by Larry Kauvar and Jonathan Meyer in honor of Dr. Ron Konopka, co-discoverer of the period gene locus and co-founder of the field of behavioral genetics. Through Dr. Konopka’s efforts in Drosophila, the first molecular insights into circadian clocks were made. Here we honor this legacy by presenting latest generation work on molecular and neuronal networks from leading labs using several clock model organisms, including Neurospora, flies, mice, and man.
Time Keeping of Cellular Biology Circadian rhythms are generated at the cellular level, where they impart temporal regulation on fundamental cellular processes from ribosome biosynthesis and mRNA translation to the global control of protein phosphorylation and turnover. Time-of-day-dependent changes in cellular signaling also modulate cellular responses to local environmental cues such as hypoxia. The deterioration of this temporal orchestration upon circadian disruption may play an important role in the systemic decline of cellular health and homeostasis throughout aging. This symposium will feature talks highlighting the far-reaching roles of circadian regulation of cellular processes to explore how timekeeping influences cellular biology and human health.
Circadian Photoreception There is increasing public awareness that exposure to evening/night light can have adverse effects on health and well being thanks to its alerting effects and circadian resetting ability. However, given that it is unrealistic to expect people to eschew electronic devices, imaginative solutions to this problem are urgently required. These should arise from a thorough understanding of circadian photoreception and the sort of visual signals that can impact the clock (Drs. Gamlin, Foster and Chen will address this topic in primates and rodents) and ways to employ this knowledge to improve design of electronic light sources (Dr. Allen will present an exciting new approach to achieve this).
Brain Clocks Outside SCN in Health and Disease The suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN), located in the ventral hypothalamus, is the primary circadian pacemaker in mammals, coordinating endogenous ca. 24 hr clocks throughout the brain and body. In the brain, the functions of cellular clocks outside SCN are largely unknown, but exciting new evidence suggests essential roles in learning and mood regulation. Talks in this session will address the importance of both rhythmicity and synchronization of brain clocks outside SCN, in the habenula, mediobasal hypothalamus, hippocampus, cerebral cortex, and midbrain dopaminergic system.
Circadian Clock and Cell Division Crosstalk in Health and Disease The overall goal of this symposium is to introduce the audience to emerging connections between circadian and cell cycle components relevant to cellular homeostasis and its deregulation. Accordingly, the symposium includes speakers that combine multidisciplinary approaches and technologies expanding various model organisms to address fundamental questions of how the cell and circadian cycles connect, regulate each other, respond to environmental perturbations, and act together to maintain cellular homeostasis. The symposium program embraces the complex areas of genomics and epidemiology to shed light on how genetic decoupling of the circadian and cell cycle result in cancer onset and progression.
Non-Photic Entrainment of Circadian Systems The circadian system synchronizes to the environmental light-dark cycle, but non-light related stimuli may be equally important. Non-photic stimuli include food, temperature, reward and fear and have been studied in animal experiments. These stimuli also play an important role in the human society; e.g. sleep timing in blind people may synchronize to social cues. However, in modern societies, social time competes with solar time and humans typically have later and shorter sleep timing, leading to a health and safety threat. Deciphering the neurobiology of non-photic entrainment will help to identify the most important non-photic time cues that could serve to overcome these threats in in modern societies.
Microbes, Their Hosts and Their Clocks Microorganisms living as part of either parasitic or symbiotic relationships have a complex relationship with their hosts. Several studies have shown that the circadian systems of both the host and the guest represent a key component of this complex interaction. This symposium will focus on recent findings on the role of the host-microorganism circadian systems in determining the benefits of symbiotic interactions as well as the pervasiveness of infectious disease. Talks will cover topics such as the circadian biology of the microbiome, as well as the importance of host-guest circadian interactions in bacterial and parasitic—trypanosomiasis, malaria, leishmaniosis—infections.
Seasonal Changes in Biology Impact Food Availability, the Spread of Infectious Disease and the Response to Global Changes The molecular analysis of seasonal timing has undergone spectacular advances in the past decade, with remarkable discoveries of circadian and epigenetic pathways in plants and animals.  Flowering in plants has provided a highly tractible phenotype and the symposium will include a contribution on flowering in trees from both molecular and modelling perspectives.  Seasonal breeding and adaptation of medaka fish and the annual migrations of salmon will be discussed using a variety of approaches. Finally, the role of calendar cells in the mammalian pars tuberalis will be presented in the context of seasonal reproduction.
Circadian Rhythms and Psychiatric Disorders The study of circadian rhythms in mental health is at an exciting point. There are now animal models of several mental health disorders that allow us to explore the underlying mechanisms by which circadian rhythms are disrupted in psychiatric disorders, as well as understand how circadian disruption can impact mental health. In addition, our knowledge of human circadian physiology, circadian-sleep interactions, and methods for studying human circadian systems in and outside the laboratory are now mature enough that we can apply that knowledge to studying patient populations and designing circadian-based treatments. The talks in this symposium will range from studies in model organisms to observational studies in hospitalized patients with psychiatric disorders to laboratory studies in human patients.
Non-ATCG Clock Regulation The molecular circadian clock, which generates behavioral and physiological circadian rhythms, controls the rhythmic expression of a significant percentage of the transcriptome of most organs. A variety of environment signals regulate molecular circadian rhythms through transcriptional, post-transcriptional, and translational mechanisms. The non-ATCG Clock Regulation symposium will explore how gene regulatory pathways such as microRNAs, non-coding RNAs and histone methylation and demethylation control the circadian clock and how these regulatory pathways are altered and contribute to circadian-based disorders that result from modern lifestyles.
Hidden Signals Behind the Clock
Rhythmic Properties of the Female Circadian System Because the reproductive cycle in females affects circadian rhythms, chronobiologists have traditionally used males for their studies. As a result, circadian regulation in females has been largely under-explored.  However, recent studies are focusing on unique properties of the circadian and sleep systems in females. This symposium will focus on female-specific properties of these systems, and their implications on disease including obesity, metabolic syndrome, polycystic ovary syndrome, congenital adrenal hyperplasia, perinatal stress, reproductive deficits and abnormal offspring development.
Therapeutic strategies Targeting Circadian Rhythms Circadian rhythms play an important role to safeguard health and fitness. In both humans and animal models, circadian disruption has been shown to cause dysregulated physiology and exaggerated risks of various diseases, including metabolic, cardiovascular, sleep, immune, and cognitive disorders and cancer. The focus of this symposium is to address the key question of how to exploit circadian rhythms as a therapeutic target against debilitating diseases. Using environmental, pharmacological and epidemiological approaches, the studies presented herein will define specific disease targets and describe novel clock-targeting therapeutics. Overall the evidence strongly supports circadian biology as a promising venue for novel treatment strategies and drug discovery.
Effects of Climate Change on Biological Timing Systems The rhythm of life on earth is shaped by seasonal changes in the environment. Most species, including humans, show profound annual cycles in physiology, behavior, reproduction and health. Climate change is modifying annual cycles to which numerous organisms have adapted with potential consequences for biodiversity, agriculture, exposure to infectious diseases and human health. This symposium will address how biological rhythmicity in different species is changing in response to climate change and the mechanisms underlying this response.