I am interested in how and why circadian rhythms are a feature of almost all organisms and how they impact our daily lives. I am currently Investigating the mechanism of circadian rhythms in red blood cells using dielectrophoresis (DEP) and small molecule inhibitors. This research is revealing interesting data about the post-transcriptional clock mechanism that may be fundamental to all life on earth. I am also interested in the interaction between the environment, circadian biology and health, particularly across the transition between rural and urbanising communities.
availability of electricity may enable later bed times without compensating sleep extension in the
morning, have stimulated interest in studying communities whose sleep pattern may resemble a preindustrial
state. Here, we describe sleep and activity in two neighbouring communities, one urban
(Milange) and one rural (Tengua), in a region of Mozambique where urbanisation is an ongoing process.
The two communities differ in the amount and timing of daily activity and of light exposure, with later
bedtimes (H1 h) associated with more evening and less daytime light exposure seen in the town of
Milange. In contrast to previous reports comparing communities with and without electricity, sleep
duration did not differ between Milange (7.28 h) and Tengua (7.23 h). Notably, calculated sleep quality
was significantly poorer in rural Tengua than in Milange, and poor sleep quality was associated with
a number of attributes more characteristic of rural areas, including more intense physical labour and
less comfortable sleeping arrangements. Thus, whilst our data support the hypothesis that access to
electricity delays sleep timing, the higher sleep quality in the urban population also suggests that some
aspects of industrialisation are beneficial to sleep.
Beale A. D., Whitmore D. and Moran D. (2016). Life in a dark biosphere: a review of circadian physiology in “arrhythmic” environments. Journal of Comparative Physiology B 186, 947-968
Beale A. D. and Whitmore D. (2015). Daily rhythms in a timeless environment: Circadian clocks in Astyanax mexicanus. In “Biology and Evolution of the Mexican Cavefish” (Keene A, Yoshizawa M, McGaugh S Eds.). 309-334. Elsevier
Beale A., Guibal C., Tamai T., Klotz L., Cowen S., Peyric E., Reynoso V. H., Yamamoto Y. and Whitmore D. (2013). Clocks in a cave: circadian rhythms in the Mexican blind cavefish Astyanax mexicanus in the lab and in the field. Nature Communications 4, 2769
Clemente C. J., Bullock J. M. R., Beale A. and Federle W. (2009). Evidence for self-cleaning in fluid-based smooth and hairy adhesive systems of insects. Journal of Experimental Biology 213, 635-642