Graduate Student, School of Natural Sciences
Roger’s current research project is to study 3 exciting proteins, which essentially form a clock that displays a 24-hour circadian rhythm. Combining with an energy molecule called ATP, these proteins can be taken out of a living cell and display a 24-hour period inside a test tube. With this amazing property of reconstructing a biological clock outside a living cell, he is investigating how the 3 proteins interact to produce a stable 24-hour rhythm, which is a common biological feature in many animals, insects and plants. As a fellow of COE, his research is very relevant to the health issues affecting shift workers. People who work in shift are frequently perturbing their biological clocks. Much like what people experience in jet lag, shift workers have to adjust their sleeping patterns for their work. This often leads to development of sleep disorder. Because the biological clock also controls metabolism, cell growth and many other important processes in the body, shift workers may develop other disorders like obesity and cancer.