This lecture will serve as an introduction to understanding the workings and significance of our internal body “clocks.” Nearly all organisms on Earth, including humans, must cope with the challenges of living on a planet with a regular, 24-hour, day-night cycle. A key adaptation to life on our rotating world is the existence of an internal daily (“circadian”) clock that orchestrates the timing of biochemical, physiological, and behavioral processes around local (geophysical) time, optimizing the economy of biological systems and allowing for a predictive, rather than purely reactive, regulation.
The last several decades have seen an explosion of new knowledge about these internal timekeeping systems: their molecular and cellular basis; flexibility in the face of environmental variation; contribution to seasonal animal navigation and migration; and importance for human psychology, medicine and occupational health; to name just a few.
About the speaker
For four decades, William Schwartz, M.D. has been committed to research on biological (circadian) clocks. He completed his M.D. and neurology residency at the University of California San Francisco with a research fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health, and was on the faculties of Harvard Medical School, Massachusetts General Hospital and the University of Massachusetts Medical School before moving to The University of Texas at Austin in 2017. He has served as the elected President of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms (2004 – 2006), and is currently the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Biological Rhythms. Invited professorships have included terms at universities in the Netherlands, Germany, Israel, New Zealand and Japan.
About the University Lecture Series
Designed to create a campus-wide conversation, the University Lecture Series gives first-year students an opportunity to interact with leading members of our faculty—scholars, scientists, and civic leaders who are nationally and internationally renowned. All students, faculty, alumni, staff and community guests are invited, but the events will be aimed at entering first-year students. The series is funded by the Audre and Bernard Rapoport Excellence Fund for Undergraduate Studies.