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Tuesday, 16 April 2019 11:27

Joke Meijer has been awarded an Advanced Grant by the European Research Commission (ERC)

How to preserve a healthy biological clock in modern society

Our homes, our offices, our cars and our cities all emit light. This large amount of artificial light is influencing the biological clocks of all living creatures, sending puzzling signals of when we should be active, and when we should stay in bed. Many severe health disorders are consequences of this change – diabetes, sleep and mood disorders, immune and cardiovascular diseases – but with her new ERC Advanced Grant, Meijer hopes to get us back to sleeping healthily.

By understanding the biological clock of diurnal animals, like us, and comparing it to nocturnal animals that respond to light cues in the opposite way, she will try to reprogram our rest patterns. Her results will deeply improve the lives of the people most vulnerable to sleep disorders: not only the elderly and patients in intensive care, but also nurses, doctors, bus drivers, shift workers and anyone who has ever battled with the alarm clock. 

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