Sleep and the Gut
Dragana Rogulja, Ph.D.Principal Investigator, Rogulja Lab
Associate Professor, Neurobiology, Harvard Medical School
Simons Foundation Presidential Lectures are free public colloquia centered on four main themes: Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Computer Science, and Neuroscience and Autism Science. These curated, high-level scientific talks feature leading scientists and mathematicians and are intended to foster discourse and drive discovery among the broader NYC-area research community. We invite those interested in the topic to join us for this weekly lecture series.
Sleep is critical to our survival and our very existence: Evidence suggests that even the earliest animals entered sleeplike states. Most efforts to understand the importance of sleep, however, focus primarily on the brain and sleep’s role in regulating memory and cognition.
In this lecture, Dragana Rogulja will present her lab’s work studying the vital functions of sleep throughout the body. She and her colleagues discovered that sleep deprivation causes oxidative stress that eventually results in death. The organ most critically injured by this process, they found, is the gut. In another study, they found that the gut can, in turn, regulate sleep, particularly the depth of sleep. These discoveries suggest a bidirectional relationship between sleep and the gut. She will also touch on the connections between poor sleep, gut health and autism spectrum disorders.