Biosciences Graduate Program

Bridget C. Lear, BS, PhD


Assistant Professor of Biology

Contact Information

Office: 450 BB
Iowa City, IA 52242
Phone: 319-335-079

Web: More About Dr. Lear - Related Websites and Resources


BS, Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, University of California-Los Angeles
PhD, Molecular Genetics and Cell Biology, University of Chicago

Education/Training Program Affiliations

Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Genetics
Interdisciplinary Graduate Program in Neuroscience

Research Summary

I am interested in understanding the neural mechanisms that regulate circadian rhythms, the daily patterns of physiology and behavior that are prominent in many species. My lab studies the model organism Drosophila melanogaster, which exhibits robust daily rhythms in several behaviors, including locomotor activity (Figure 1). Genetic approaches in Drosophila have led to the identification of a number of key circadian rhythms genes, including several with conserved function in mammals. Much of the focus in circadian rhythms research has gone towards understanding the molecular circadian clock, the cell-autonomous transcriptional feedback loops and post-translational modifications that generate ~24 hour molecular oscillations. In Drosophila and mammals, the central circadian clocks that control rhythmicity are located in neuronal groups within the brain. Yet, little is known about how the molecular clock regulates the output of these neurons to promote rhythmicity. My lab is interested in understanding the processes that occur downstream of the molecular clock to mediate circadian neuron function. I have previously demonstrated that a putative sodium leak channel, narrow abdomen (na), is an important component of circadian neuronal output in Drosophila. We are now using this system to further characterize the function and regulation of this unique channel, with a particular interest in determining whether NA is subject to circadian regulation. In addition, my lab is utilizing the molecular and genetic tools of Drosophila in order to identify new circadian rhythms genes, with a focus on genes likely to function in circadian neuronal output.

Date Last Modified: 06/06/2016 - 13:17:48