Cara Constance, assistant professor of biology, was recently invited by the Sleep Research Society to present a scientific workshop at the 2010 Trainee Symposia Series. On Saturday, June 5, 2010 she presented a workshop entitled “Introduction to Clock Genes: conserved and divergent characteristics of the molecular clock mechanism through evolutionary time” at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas.
“The rotation of the earth imposes a daily environmental cycle of twenty-four hours,” Constance said, giving background to her presentation. “Within each cycle is a period of light and of darkness, with an associated daily fluctuation in temperature. Virtually all organisms have adapted to life on earth by having an internal timer that controls rhythmic behavioral, biochemical and physiological processes, and confers a “circadian” period of about a day. These circadian rhythms occur independently of environmental influence, as demonstrated by their persistence in the absence of external timing cues, but can respond to the environment through a process called entrainment.”
“My presentation focused on the genes that are central to the clock; essentially these genes keep the clock ‘ticking,’” she said.
The 2010 Trainee Symposia series and Constance’s workshop were a part of SLEEP 2010, the 24th Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies, which took place June 5 through 9. The SLEEP meeting attracts the largest audience of sleep specialists in the nation. It is the only five day meeting in the nation with scientific sessions and an exhibition hall focused solely on sleep medicine and sleep research. To learn more about SLEEP 2010, visit the conference’s website.