The Pressure to Sleep

  • Speaker
  • Gero Miesenböck, M.D.Waynflete Professor of Physiology Director, Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour, University of Oxford
Date & Time

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Sleep is vital and universal, but its biological functions remain unknown. In this lecture, Gero Miesenböck will present clues to the mystery of sleep by examining how the brain responds to sleep loss.

He will describe his work in fruit flies that showed that rising sleep pressure activates dedicated sleep-control cells. The activity of those cells fluctuates due to the antagonistic regulation of two potassium conductances: voltage-gated Shaker and the leak channel Sandman. Insight into the sleep need-dependent regulation of these ion channels is beginning to furnish a molecular interpretation of sleep pressure, uncover the cellular processes responsible for its accumulation and discharge, and suggest a physiological role for sleep in protecting neuronal membranes against oxidative damage.

About the Speaker

Miesenböck is the Waynflete Professor of Physiology and founding director of the Centre for Neural Circuits and Behaviour at the University of Oxford. He received his M.D. from the University of Innsbruck in his native Austria and was a postdoctoral fellow with James Rothman. Before coming to Oxford in 2007, he held faculty appointments at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Yale University.

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