Vincent van der Vinne

Photo of Vincent van der Vinne

Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology

Hopper Science Center Rm 222


B.S. University of Groningen (2008)
M.Sc. University of Groningen (2010)
Ph.D. University of Groningen (2015)

Understanding the mechanisms responsible for the adverse health effects of circadian disruption

Circadian clocks control rhythms in nearly all aspects of mammalian physiology and behavior. The mammalian circadian system consists of transcription-translation feedback loop oscillators in (nearly) every cell of the body that together form a hierarchical system with a master clock in the brain (SCN) and peripheral clocks in all organs of the body. The circadian clock system has evolved to enable organisms to cope with the predictable daily changes between day and night. Internal clocks are synchronized to rhythms in the environment through timing cues such as the timing of light and food, but living in our modern 24/7 society is associated with light exposure and food intake at all hours of the day. The resulting disturbance of circadian homeostasis is linked to a host of adverse health outcomes such as increased risk of cancer and metabolic syndrome in human shift workers.

Although the causal link between circadian disruption and adverse health outcomes is well established, the identification of the mechanisms responsible for these outcomes has been hindered by the complexity of the mammalian circadian system. Research in my lab aims to describe the response of clocks in different parts of the body during circadian disruption using different behavioral, physiological, molecular and computational approaches. The health consequences of specific aspects of circadian disruption can subsequently be assessed through the use of genetic models of disruption and exposure to artificial lighting and feeding schedules. Using these approaches, we hope to identify the mechanisms critical for linking circadian disruption to its adverse consequences and to be able to formulate effective strategies to remedy the circadian disruption inherent to living in our modern 24/7 society.