My research focuses on seasonal timekeeping in mammals. Accurate timing and anticipation of seasonal changes is required to initiate physiological adaptations over the course of the year such as hibernation, changes in metabolism, fattening and reproductive activity. To achieve this, organisms have evolved complex seasonal timekeeping systems that rely on day length sensing (photoperiodism), coupled to innate long-term timers ("circannual clock"). The fundamental biological processes giving rise circannual rhythms are not known for any organism. This is a highly integrative topic of wide relevance, integrating multiple levels of understanding from genome to ecosystem. Within this area, my specific interests are in the cellular and molecular mechanisms involved in seasonal timekeeping processes, and in particular in the concept that there is a strong developmental / epigenetic component in the generation of cyclical life-histories.
Please see the subsections for the projects I am currently working on.