“Meet Your Biological Clock”
William Schwartz, MD • Professor & Associate Chair of Research and Education, Department of Neurology, Dell Medical School
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.
For four decades, Dr. William Schwartz has been committed to research on biological (circadian) clocks. He completed his MD and neurology residency at the University of California San Francisco, 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.