Circadian Rhythms and Bipolar Disorder

Tuesday, April 9, 2019
Meet the Scientist - April 2019

Many studies have found significant disruptions in circadian rhythms in people with bipolar disorder. These rhythms affect sleep/wake activity, body temperature, and hormonal cycles. Changes to the sleep/wake cycle can precipitate manic and depressive episodes while stabilization of these rhythms is therapeutic. I will be discussing work from our lab aimed at better understanding the molecular mechanisms by which circadian genes and rhythms control mood in bipolar disorder and how synchronization of the circadian clock may lead to novel mood-stabilizing therapies.

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Presented by 
Colleen Ann McClung, Ph.D.
Colleen Ann McClung, Ph.D.
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center

Professor of Psychiatry and Clinical and Translational Science

Center for Neuroscience

2016 Independent Investigator Grant

2007, 2005 Young Investigator Grant

Colleen Ann McClung, Ph.D., University of Pittsburgh, aims to help improve treatment for bipolar disorder, major depression, and schizophrenia by examining disruptions to sleep patterns, which can destabilize mood. Dr. McClung’s team will study coordinated patterns of brain activity tied to the stages of consciousness and sleep—in particular, how these stages look irregular in major depression, bipolar, and schizophrenia. The researchers will also test how strongly these disruptions are linked to outcomes such as suicide and psychosis. These findings will shed light on the underlying pathology of sleep irregularities in psychiatric disorders, laying the groundwork for new treatments.

Moderated by 
Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D.
Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

President and CEO

Jeffrey Borenstein, M.D., serves as the President & CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, the largest private funder of mental health research grants. Dr. Borenstein developed the Emmy Award-nominated public television program “Healthy Minds,” and serves as host of the series. The program, which is broadcast nationwide, focuses on topics in psychiatry in order to educate the public, reduce stigma and offer a message of hope. Dr. Borenstein also serves as Editor-in-Chief of Psychiatric News, the newspaper of the American Psychiatric Association and as an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.