Full course description
Rhythms are everywhere. With Earth spinning along its’ axes, the moon turning around the Earth, and Earth turning around the Sun: organisms are exposed to daily, lunar and seasonal cycles. These cycles have created rhythms at every level of biology. Present in everything from bacteria to plants to humans, ranging from a molecular level to complete behavior. Chronobiology is the field that studies these rhythms; how they work, how they are regulated, how persistent they are, what happens when they are disturbed (by jetlag or shift work), how they contribute to health and disease, which behaviors are subjected to them, and more. In this course, these topics will be covered with examples from daily life. The focus will be on the importance of food and light for the biological clock: the coordinator of these rhythms. Chronobiology is an interdisciplinary research topic including different model organisms, and an enormous range of involved processes (e.g., why does a plant open and close its leaves every 24h? and why should you visit the dentist in the early afternoon?).
- Make students familiar with the basic principles of biological (daily, lunar and seasonal) rhythms
- Understand the underlying mechanism of rhythms in the human body
- Gain knowledge of which human body functions and behaviors are controlled by rhythms
- Learn how rhythms influence eating and metabolism
- Experience a hands-on recording of own body rhythms in a basic experiment