Educational Opportunities

The Conte Center provides opportunities for development and mentoring of young investigators at both the undergraduate, graduate, and post-doctoral levels.

The Department of Neurobiology and Physiology at Northwestern University sponsors a weekly seminar series. With three members of the department involved in circadian rhythm research (Dr. Joseph Takahashi, Dr. Fred Turek and Dr. Ravi Allada), a number of the seminar speakers are involved in research related to sleep and circadian rhythms. Educational opportunities at Northwestern also include two different courses on biological rhythms. One course, Biological Clocks, C-24, is aimed primarily for advanced undergraduate biology majors and graduate students. A second course, Biological Clocks, A-24, is a unique course that seeks to integrate teaching and research in a single course for non-biology undergraduate students. This course was developed with the aid of a grant from the Hewlett Foundation. The course involves a combination of traditional lectures with hands-on experience in a research setting for 120 non-science majors per class. Students in the course meet in small tutorial groups with the members of the Takahashi and Turek laboratories to learn about the process of science and ongoing research on biological rhythms and sleep at Northwestern University. In addition, Dr. Takahashi has developed a new advanced course on Functional Genomics.

At the University of Virginia, students and postdocs participate in a weekly chronobiology reading club and have an opportunity to enroll or audit an advanced lecture class on chronobiology (Biology 419). Students also attend and give presentations in the weekly “Fridays at Four” seminar series and in various minisymposia and workshops held at the Center for Biological Timing. The “Fridays at Four” seminar series is available by internet2-based videoconferencing. We have also regularly included students and postdoctoral fellows in international meetings. Many undergrads participate in circadian research as volunteers or through enrollment in Independent Research courses.

The Department of Neurology and the Program in Human Genetics at the University of California at San Francisco sponsors bi-monthly seminars in human genetics. This is heavily weighted towards behavioral genetics including circadian rhythms. Dr. Ptácek’s and Fu’s laboratories have joint circadian rhythm meetings every two weeks and also a behavioral phenotyping meeting in collaboration with Larry Tecott’s laboratory once per month. There is a circadian rhythm genetics journal club once per month. The Program in Biological Sciences and the Neuroscience Program have courses in genetics that include circadian rhythm biology and other aspects of behavioral genetics.

The Department of Biochemistry at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center sponsors weekly seminars in the fields of biochemistry, molecular biology, biophysics and chemistry. These seminars are delivered by nationally recognized scientists visiting from institutions all over the United States. The seminar series is funded by the core budget provided to the Department of Biochemistry from State funds. In addition to weekly departmental seminars, the educational forum of the Department of Biochemistry includes weekly journal club and works-in-progress (WIP) presentations run by our graduate programs in biological chemistry, chemistry and biophysics. Only a small proportion of these educational activities are devoted to the study of circadian rhythm, sleep or depression. The latter topics are, however, discussed on a regular basis in laboratory meetings of the McKnight research group as well as Dr. Yi Liu’s research group in the Department of Physiology here at UT Southwestern Medical Center. The McKnight and Liu laboratories hold a joint group meeting at noon on the first Friday of each month.