Fred W. Turek Charles E. and Emma H. Morrison Professor of Neurobiology

Research Interests

Sleep and circadian rhythms

Research in the Turek laboratory is focused on the study of sleep and circadian rhythms, with a special interest in identifying genes that regulate sleep and circadian rhythms. Ongoing work on sleep and circadian rhythms includes an investigation of: (1) the neurochemical, molecular, and cellular events involved in the entrainment, generation and expression of circadian rhythms arising from a central biological clock located in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) of the hypothalamus, (2) the genetics of the circadian clock system and the molecular genetic mechanisms underlying the sleep-wake cycle, (3) the bidirectional central mechanisms by which the circadian clock and sleep-wake system are integrated to central biological timing, (4) the importance of the effects of advanced age on the expression of behavioral and endocrine rhythms, and on the expression of circadian clock genes and how disrupted patterns impact the aging process, (5) the links between sleep, circadian rhythms, and energy metabolism, (6) the role of melatonin in modulating sleep and circadian rhythms, and (7) the effects of circadian misalignment on the health and disease state of the brain-gut axis.

In addition to our work on rodents, we have established extensive collaborations with clinical researchers. Studies in humans are aimed at shifting the human clock in an attempt to alleviate mental and physical problems that are associated with disorders in circadian time-keeping, particularly in the elderly and in shift-workers engaged in the maritime industry. Our sleep, circadian and metabolic studies are focused on how disruption in these interactions can lead to obesity, diabetes, and CVD.

Selected Publications

A Systems Approach Identifies Networks and Genes Linking Sleep and Stress: Implications for Neuropsychiatric Disorders. Jiang P, Scarpa JR, Fitzpatrick K, Losic B, Gao VD, Hao K, Summa KC, Yang HS, Zhang B, Allada R, Vitaterna MH, Turek FW, and Kasarskis A. Cell Reports. 2015 May 5;11(5):835-848.

Circadian Disorganization Alters Intestinal Microbiota. Voigt RM, Forsyth CB, Green SJ, Mutlu E, Engen P, Vitaterna MH, Turek FW, and Keshavarzian A. PLoS ONE. 2014 May 21;9(5):e97500.

Disruption of the Circadian Clock in Mice Increases Intestinal Permeability and Promotes Alcohol-Induced Hepatic Pathology and Inflammation. Summa KC, Voigt RM, Forsyth CB, Shaikh M, Cavanaugh K, Tang Y, Vitaterna MH, Song S, Turek FW, and Keshavarzian A. PLoS ONE. 2013 June 18;8(6):e67102.

High-resolution mapping of a novel genetic locus regulating voluntary physical activity in mice. Yang HS, Shimomura K, Vitaterna MH, and Turek FW. Genes, Brain and Behavior. 2012 February;11(1):113-124.

Identification of Causal Genes, Networks, and Transcriptional Regulators of REM Sleep and Wake. Millstein J, Winrow CJ, Kasarskis A, Owens JR, Zhou L, Summa KC, Fitzpatrick K, Zhang B, Vitaterna MH, Schadt EE, Renger JJ, and Turek FW. SLEEP. 2011 November 1;34(11):1469-1477.

View all publications by Fred W. Turek in the National Library of Medicine (PubMed).