Media Advisory: Internal time clocks more important to human health than previously thought


TORONTO, Monday, May 15, 2017 – Out of whack internal biological clocks can have dire effects on human health and have links to cardiovascular disease, cancer, metabolic disorders and mental health. Scientists will present their latest research into biological timekeeping (chronobiology) at the Canadian Society for Chronobiology conference this week at York University.

The University’s Department of Biology will host the three-day conference May 19 to 21 with leading experts in chronobiology, including clinicians, geneticists, epidemiologists, molecular biologists and psychologists. The research will look at the effects of internal timekeeping on humans, animals and even fungus.

In addition to a mini-school for students Friday afternoon, there will be a public lecture on biological clocks and their role in human health and disease, “The Time of Your Life: Biological Clocks in Health and Disease,” by eminent chronobiologist Ben Rusak (PhD, FRSC) of Dalhousie University  at 5pm, Friday, May 19.

Rusak’s talk will answer questions, such as: What impact does it have on our health when these clocks are disrupted? How do our internal clocks affect our cardiovascular health? Why do teenagers have trouble waking up early in the morning? What happens to our bodies during jet lag and shift work? How does the hormone melatonin regulate our clocks?

Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University will deliver the Mrosovsky Keynote Lecture by at 2pm on Saturday, May 20, titled “Circadian Medicine: Insights from the Clinic.”

Biological rhythms are found in most species and are believed to be evolutionary adaptations to cyclical variations of the environment. Researchers hope their studies will lead to new and innovative clinical treatments.

WHO: Leading chronobiology experts, including Ben Rusak of Dalhousie University and Phyllis Zee of Northwestern University

WHAT: Third Canadian Society for Chronobiology (biological time clocks) conference

WHEN: Friday, May 19 to Sunday, May 21

WHERE: 103 Life Sciences Building, York University (see number 90 on the map)

The conference is sponsored by York University Faculty of Science and Office of the Vice President Research and Innovation, the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network, Actimetrics, Activinsights, MJSBioLynx and Somnitude.

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York University is known for championing new ways of thinking that drive teaching and research excellence. Our students receive the education they need to create big ideas that make an impact on the world. Meaningful and sometimes unexpected careers result from cross-discipline programming, innovative course design and diverse experiential learning opportunities. York students and graduates push limits, achieve goals and find solutions to the world’s most pressing social challenges, empowered by a strong community that opens minds. York U is an internationally recognized research university – our 11 faculties and 26 research centres have partnerships with 200+ leading universities worldwide. Located in Toronto, York is the third largest university in Canada, with a strong community of 53,000 students, 7,000 faculty and administrative staff, and more than 295,000 alumni.York U's fully bilingual Glendon campus is home to Southern Ontario's Centre of Excellence for French Language and Bilingual Postsecondary Education.

Media Contact:
Sandra McLean, York University Media Relations, 416-736-2100 ext. 22097,