Department of Psychology
Department of Psychology

Behavioral Neuroscience: Dr. Randy J. Nelson, "Effects of Light at Night and Disrupted Circadian Rhythms on Brain and Behavior"

Tue, October 15, 2019 | SEA 4.244 (Library)

3:00 PM

Behavioral Neuroscience Plenary Invited Seminar


Randy J. Nelson, Ph.D 
Professor & Chair, Department of Neuroscience
West Virginia University


"Effects of Light at Night and Disrupted Circadian Rhythms on Brain and Behavior"

 BNS Invited Speaker Host: Behavioral Neuroscience
Tues, Oct 15, 3:00 PM
SEA 4.244 (Library)


Dr. Randy Nelson, a behavioral neuroendocrinologist and professor at West Virginia University, is our Department of Psychology guest speaker for 2019. Dr. Nelson earned two PhDs (in Psychology and Endocrinology) at University of California, Berkeley, and completed a postdoc at UT Austin. He served as a professor at Johns Hopkins, Ohio State, and now at WVU—where he is also the Chair of Neuroscience. He is a neuroendocrinology expert (he wrote the textbook!) and is a superb mentor. Dr. Nelson has published >400 research papers and has >27,000 citations.

Abstract: Life on earth has evolved during the past several billion years under relatively bright days and dark night conditions. The widespread adoption of electric lights during the past century exposed animals, including humans, to significant light at night for the first time in their evolutionary history. Endogenous circadian clocks, that drive physiology and behavior, depend on appropriate timing of light to entrain to the external daily environment, and seasonal rhythms depend on clear nightly melatonin signals to assess time of year. Thus, light at night can derange temporal adaptations. Indeed, disruption of naturally evolved light-dark cycles results in several physiological and behavioral changes with potentially serious implications for physiology, behavior, and mood.

In this talk, data from our lab will be reviewed about the role of dim light at night on depressive-like behaviors and brain vascularization. The association among light at night, dysregulation of clock gene expression, and neuroinflammation will be presented. Strategies to avoid the effects of light at night on dysregulation of brain and behavior will be discussed.


Sponsored by: Department of Psychology Behavioral Neuroscience Area

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    The University of Texas at Austin
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