Physiology of circadian rhythms

Our research addresses an issue of critical importance targeting the understanding of the consequence of circadian disruption on health and disease

The rotation of the Earth around its own axis creates daily changes in the environment of all living species.

To anticipate these changes and be more adapted to this fluctuating environment, they have all adapted an evolutionary conserved circadian clock that controls most aspects of physiology.

The exposition to conditions that disrupt this circadian clock such as shift work, disrupted light exposure or the use of screens or smartphones at night causes chronodisruption that can have a broad impact on health, including predispositions for pathologies like obesity, diabetes, cancer or neurological disorders.

Our goal is to understand and characterize the mechanisms of how chronodisruption can lead to the development of pathology.

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Group leader

Associate Professor Frederic Gachon

Associate Professor Frederic Gachon

Group Leader, Physiology of Circadian Rhythms

Centre for Cell Biology of Chronic Disease, IMB

  +61 7 334 62017
  UQ Researcher Profile

Our research addresses an issue of critical importance targeting the understanding of the consequence of circadian disruption on health and disease. Our understanding of the causal relationship between chronodisruption and pathologies will open new possibilities to fight these diseases and prevent their development through new health policies or pharmacological treatments.

By essence, our group has a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach. Chronobiology is at the crossroads between neuroscience, physiology, metabolism, nutrition, system biology, genomics, proteomics, molecular biology and cellular biology. Consequently, all lab members from different horizons and fields of expertise work in close collaboration in an inclusive way to achieve the goals of the team.

Main discoveries from the Gachon group:

  • Control of xenobiotic detoxification by the circadian clock, providing key knowledge for the development of chronopharmacology.
  • Key description of the regulation of the metabolism of glucose, lipids and vitamins by the circadian clock and feeding rhythms in both mouse and human, providing a basis for translation of our research, in particular in the domain of chrononutrition.
  • Comprehensive analysis of the regulation of liver gene expression and protein synthesis and transport by the circadian clock and feeding rhythms, as well as the involved molecular mechanisms.
  • Description of the impact of the circadian clock, the microbiome and obesity on sexual maturation and growth hormone secretion, opening the way to new research studying their impact on children development and aging.

Completed Research Grants

  • 2009-2010: Research grant from the French Association for Cancer Research

    "Circadian clock regulation of drug detoxification: impact on cancer treatments".
    This grant helped to develop the basic knowledge of chronopharacology.

  • 2011-2013: Grant from the Swiss National Science Foundation

    “Influence of circadian clock-coordinated post-transcriptional regulations on mouse liver metabolism".
    This grant helped us to develop our basic knowledge of the regulation of mRNA translation and ribosome biogenesis by circadian and feeding rhythms.

  • 2011-2015: European Research Council Starting Grant

    "Control of mouse metabolism by circadian clock-coordinated mRNA translation".
    This grant helped us to develop further our knowledge of the regulation of liver physiology by circadian and feeding rhythms, and its impact on global metabolism.

  • Specific role of the circadian clocks in the different liver cell types and their impact on liver physiology and pathology
  • Regulation of liver protein secretion and its regulation by circadian and feeding rhythms
  • Role of the autonomic nervous system in the rhythmic regulation of animal physiology by light
  • Impact of adverse light exposure on development and aging
  • Role of the circadian clock on bacterial infection and inflammation

View all publications

Our Approach

We use human and animal studies and Omics technologies to describe the impact of environmental factors or genetic disruption of the circadian clock on normal physiology and pathology, as well as the involved molecular mechanisms.

Research Areas

Our research aims at characterizing how chronodisruption leads to pathologies, in particular for:


  • Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease

Common disease

  • Liver pathologies, including Non-Alcoholic Liver Disease
  • Metabolic diseases, obesity and diabetes

Into the future

  • Children development and growth

Our team

Group Leader


General enquiries

  +61 7 3346 2222

Media enquiries

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