Our research

Sleep and cognition

Sleep and the cognitive decline associated with sleep loss differ between individuals.

We discovered that a primate-specific polymorphism in the circadian clock gene PERIOD3 predicts:

  • Sleep characteristics
  • Cognitive decline due to sleep loss.

This provides a unique opportunity to:

  • better understand the mechanisms
  • underlying individual differences
  • by which this clock gene influences sleep and cognition
  • Identify novel biomarkers
  • Develop novel countermeasures for cognitive decline associated with sleep loss and circadian misalignment


Data collection: human

  • Genotype ~ 1,500 people for the PER3 polymorphism
  • Stratify study population (n=72) according to PER3 genotype
  • Perturb sleep and circadian rhythmicity
    • Forced desynchrony protocol
    • Sleep restriction/extension followed by ‘extended nightshift’
  • Assess cognition and sleep physiology
  • Obtain samples for the analysis of
    • Endocrine markers of circadian rhythmicity
    • Cell culture studies of circadian rhythms in vitro
    • PERIOD3 protein rhythms
    • Genome wide gene expression profiling by microarray

Data analysis

  • Merge data:
  • Sleep physiology
    • Circadian physiology
    • Cognition
    • Gene expression profiling.
  • Bioinformatics and modelling approaches
  • Identify metabolic and signalling pathways related to
    • PER3 genotype related differences
    • Other individual differences.

Contact us

Find us

Map of the University of Surrey


Surrey Sleep Research Centre
Surrey Clinical Research Centre
University of Surrey