“The field had long been speculating on this Nobel Prize. This is great recognition for the field of circadian rhythms that are intimately linked to our health and disease, including diabetes, obesity, cancer and cardiovascular disease.”
— Dr. Frank A.J.L. Scheer, associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Medical Chronobiology Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Jeffrey C. Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael W. Young were awarded the Nobel Prize on Monday, for their research on the body clock.
The body clock operates in all living species, and influences everything from mood to hunger to hormones. Our internal clock helps to match our body’s function to day and night, creating within us an internal rhythm that also plays a role in metabolism, weight management, and disease risk and management.
The researchers honored with a Nobel Prize were recognized in large part for their identification of specific genes that play a role in the body clock of a fruit fly, which sets the foundation for a wealth of future research on identifying genetic markers and abnormalities in individuals with lifestyle-related illness, and how epigenetics (the influence of factors on genetic expression, not an actual change in genes) could one day be applied to let’s say, prevent the metabolic catastrophe associated with night-shift work, reduce weight gain with chronic poor sleep, or improve morning appetite in individuals who tend to go without food all day and then binge eat at night.
Art by Henri Matisse.