Dr. Dirk Hadrich
EUCLOCK is a large European wide research network
that has been launched in January 2006. This project aims at the
investigation of the circadian clocks in single cells and in humans.
Behaviour, physiology, and biochemistry are temporally structured and
characterised by daily oscillations. These cycles are not simply driven
by external changes as light/dark or warm/cold. They are controlled by
endogenous clocks that are prevalent in the most diverse organisms,
from cyanobacteria to humans. These circadian clocks are synchronised
to the outside world by a process called entrainment, which is
generated by rhythmic environmental signals, called ’ZEITGEBERS'.
EUCLOCK researchers are precisely interested in how these circadian
clocks are synchronised to their specific cyclic environment.
Therefore, EUCLOCK combines the expertise of 34 chronobiologists from
29 institutions in 11 European countries. EUCLOCK's budget is more than
16 million EUR over 5-years, of which 12 millions are a contribution by
the European Union.
EUCLOCK researchers utilise the most
advanced methods of functional genomics and phenomics in order to
compare genetic model organisms and humans. For example, the
prerequisites for large-scale, non-invasive research on human
entrainment in the field will be developed. The first animal models for
shift-work will be created. In analogy to 20% of Shift Workers in the
population, flies and mice will be exposed to 'shift work' schedules.
They will be active and fed out of phase with their natural rhythms.
The ensuing "dys-entrainment" will be investigated at levels from genes
to behavior. This work aims at providing insights for the prevention of
the negative consequences of human shift-work.
genetic components that control the circadian clock and its entrainment
will be identified in animals and in humans.
New tools will be
developed and new circadian model organisms will be explored. These
will enable the field of chronobiology to exploit the advantages of
systems biology research on circadian timing to be performed and
integrated at the level of the genome, the proteome, and the metabolome.
The innovations of EUCLOCK are predestined to shape the future of circadian research.
EUCLOCK is divided into four Sub-Projects that each manage specific Research activities and implement EUCLOCK's objectives:SP 1: Humans
(Anna Wirz-Justice, University of Basel)SP 2: Mice
(Urs Albrecht, University of Fribourg)SP 3: Flies
(Charlotte Helfrich-Förster, University of Regensburg) SP 4: Novel clock genes and principles
(Martha Merrow, University of Groningen)
In parallel EUCLIS
(EUCLOCK Information System) is established to support the
infrastructure between EUCLOCK researchers and the worldwide
Chronobiology community. EUCLIS is an advanced database architecture,
which will integrate experimental data, computational models and
external information. (Eduardo Mendoza, LMU Munich & University of
the Philippines Diliman)