SUND Seminars - Ueli Schibler: 'Even cells have inner timers' – University of Copenhagen

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17 April 2015

SUND Seminars - Ueli Schibler: 'Even cells have inner timers'


Professor Ueli Schibler will talk about ‘The daily rhythms of genes, cells and organs’ at the next SUND seminar.

You get up in the mornings. You go to work. You do something, and you go back home.

Human beings are creatures of habit, and most of us live our lives alternating between rest and work. And not abiding by this rhythm can cause ill health.

But it is not only humans who subscribe to this life rhythm. The individual components that make up humans also exist according to rhythms  - and if you break them, you risk getting ill.

Portrait of Ueli Schibler

Ueli Schibler is a professor at the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva

This, among other things, is what Professor of Molecular Biology, Ueli Schibler, will talk about at the next SUND Seminar. It takes place on 23 April at 4.00 PM in Haderup Auditorium.

‘People who show up for the seminar will get an understanding of why our bodies adhere to these rhythms. They will learn that we actually have an inner timer, and not just in our brains, but in our organs, even in our individual cells, and that it’s all controlled by light’, Anne Grapin-Botton, (DanStem) professor of developmental biology, explains. It is she who has invited Ueli Schibler.

These rhythms and our inner sense of time is something we share with a great deal of other earthly creatures, and it has a huge impact on our lives.

‘Our bodies react in cycles. We prefer sleeping at certain given times, we fell hungry at given times. All animals – in fact even plants – adhere to these cycles. Mice, for example, do the exact opposite of humans. They sleep during the day and are active at night, but the principle is the same’, Anne Grapin-Botton states.

And basically, human beings are built to adhere to such rhythms.

‘We’re affected by long journeys across time zones – it’s what’s commonly known as jetlag. We recognize that eating at the wrong time can lead to overweight. And it’s a fact that people who work nightshifts are more prone to illnesses. Ueli Schibler’s point is that even individual cells have an inner timer. By attending his seminar, you’ll understand how important this timer is’, Anne Grapin-Botton concludes.

Meet & greet

If you are interested in a meeting with Ueli Schibler, please contact

An introduction to Ueli Schibler

Ueli Schibler is a professor at the Department of Molecular Biology at the University of Geneva.

Ueli Schibler is recognized as a world leader in the study of circadian rythms. He has received several prestigious awards, including the Friedrich Miescher Award of the Swiss Biochemical Society (1983), the Cloëtta Prize of Medicine (1986), the Otto Naegeli Prize of Medicine (1996), and the Louis Jeantet Prize of Medicine (2000).

Read more about Ueli Schibler