Professor Neurophysiology, in particular the regulation mechanisms of biological rhythms
Joke Meijer is professor and head of the section Neurophysiology, within the department of Cell and Chemical Biology.
The Meijer lab focusses on 24-hour rhythms in bodily functions. Rhythms of 24-hours are generated in an evolutionary old part of the brain, called the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Individual cells of this structure produce rhythms of about 24-hours. The clock cells are mutually synchronized and are responsive to external light to adapt to the external light-dark cycle. Disturbances in the clock can give rise to sleep disturbances, obesity and depression. Artificial illumination, shift work, and life style are a challenge for our 24-hour system in modern society.
Topics of the Meijer group
• Neuronal network organization of the circadian clock
• Light effects on the SCN clock; the visual circadian system
• Clinical: clock disturbance and disease (cancer, aging, sleep, metabolic syndrome, depression)
• Health by strengthening clock function (exercise light)
• Complexity theory; emergent properties of hierarchical neuronal networks
• Chronopharmacology: optimizing time of drug application
• Field research, animal welfare, population dynamics
Joke Meijer absolved her master degree (cum laude) in 1985 at the department of biology, physics and medicine of the Leiden University Medical Center, Leiden, the Netherlands. In 1989 she got her PhD-degree (cum laude) at the department of physiology of the Leiden University, based on work carried out at the department of pharmacology, Nottingham University, Halifax University Biological Center in Groningen, the Netherlands.
The title of his inaugural lecture was 'Een Kwestie van Tijd'.
Prizes and honourable appoinments
2016 Aschoff and Honma Prize in Biological Rhythm Research (most prestigious international prize in the circadian research field, awarded biannually)
2013 Elected member of the Royal Dutch Society for Sciences
1999 Best Teacher Award in BioPharmaceutical Sciences (Fac. Natural Sciences, Leiden Univ)
1993 Aschoff’s Rule (prize for eminent contributions in chronobiology supporting the interdisciplinary spirit of the field, chosen by Jeff Hall, USA)
1989 Fellowship, duration 3 years, from the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences
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