Postdoc position

Job description

We seek a highly motivated Post-doctoral Fellow to work on a project related to chronodisruption as a risk factor for preterm birth (see below).  Competitive candidates will have a doctorate degree from an accredited college or university in the field of Biology, Reproductive Biology, Physiology, or closely related field.The successful candidate will have experience in reproductive or circadian biology and training in mouse genetics, timed pregnancy, embryo transfer or live imaging. If you know of interested candidates, please have them contact Herzog@wustl.edu. The position will start in November 2014.

Project Description

The overall goal of the project is to determine the influence of disruption of circadian rhythms on risk for preterm birth. Circadian rhythms (e.g., sleep/activity cycles) are endogenous and entrainable adaptations to 24-hour periods of light and dark and are important to normal physiologic functions. Circadian rhythms have wide-ranging influences on metabolism, mood, addictive behaviors, and the immune system, and their phasing defines an individual’s chronotype (i.e., timing of an individual’s circadian rhythms). Recent studies have shown that altering maternal circadian rhythms can disrupt fetal development and induce intrauterine growth restriction. Additionally, mutations of genes regulating the circadian system can dramatically disrupt gestation and parturition. However, whether disruption of circadian rhythm, termed “chronodisruption”, affects birth timing has not been explored.

This project will test the fundamental hypothesis that circadian rhythms in the mother, the fetus, or both regulate timing of parturition and, when disrupted, lead to preterm birth. By combining studies in mice with defined circadian genotypes and in humans with defined chronotypes, we will determine whether and how disruption of circadian rhythms affects timing of delivery. The outcome of this investigation will be determination of whether human chronotypes and circadian rhythms should be considered in monitoring at-risk pregnancies and whether prescribed daily schedules should be examined as measures to prevent preterm birth.

 

Collaborators: Dr. Erik Herzog,Dr. Sarah England,Dr. Emily Jungheim,Dr. Justin Fay