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Welcome to the Kay Laboratory

Graphic by Steve Lustig

Our laboratory studies the composition and architecture of circadian networks in plants and animals. These networks are thought to provide adaptive advantages to organisms, and are now known to be pervasive in their integration with many other regulatory modules in multiple cell types. We employ high throughput genomic and chemical biology pipelines to identify network components and apply mechanistic approaches to understand their detailed function and interactions.  In both plant and animal systems we have found that circadian networks are hierarchical and composed of regulatory layers that act at the transcriptional and post-transcriptional levels. Increasingly we are finding that circadian regulation is tightly integrated with metabolic networks, and operate with reciprocal regulatory interactions.

Our recent results explore how clocks regulate processes such as glucose homeostasis in mammals and growth in plants. We also now have data on the identification of the first proof of concept chemical probes for the manipulation of circadian clocks by small molecules. Target deconvolution of these chemical probes is revealing novel features of clock function. As we explore computational approaches to mine existing data collections for comprehensive network reconstruction, and learn how such approaches present circadian clocks as highly interesting targets for development of novel therapeutics and agricultural biotechnology products.

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