Jun 25, 2020
Most listeners are familiar with
circadian rhythms, but Professor Zhu is working on less-studied
12-hour cycles and how they affect our well-being.
He talks about his research, explaining
Bokai Zhu is an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism and the Aging Institute at the University of Pittsburgh. He's working on biological rhythms, also known as oscillations, and specifically narrowed his study to research ultradian rhythms, which signifies 12-hour cycles, rather than the more commonly-studied circadian rhythms.
Thus far he's found evidence
that 12-hour rhythms originated to adapt to the 12-hour tidal
rhythms, which we see in crustaceans. Furthermore, Zhu believes as
we've evolved from the sea, humans and other animals have kept this
12-hour rhythm. In other words, this same tidal pattern followed by
our evolutionary ancient ancestors is ingrained in our body
He discusses how he is conducting studies in mice to better understand this cycle and how it might regulate our systems. He makes an interesting analogy to morning and evening rush hour, how these 12-hour switches of increased activity present more risk for bodily damage like misfolded proteins.
He's also found potential connections to memory issues because the hippocampus is especially engaged in the 12-hour cycle. Listen to learn about these issues and more.
For more information, see his
web site at the university and search for recent news articles
covering his research: www.isb.pitt.edu/people/faculty/bokai-zhu-phd
Available on Apple Podcasts: apple.co/2Os0myK