About this event

  • Date and time Tue 15 Jun 2021 from 1:00pm to 3:00pm
  • Location Online
  • Organised by Respiratory Medicine

Circadian rhythms are increasingly being recognised as a key driver of diseases. Not only do they generate novel therapeutic targets but also allows us to manipulate them through environmental interventions such as the timing of feeding or intensity of lighting.

The Respiratory Medicine Section is hosting this exciting online event that will explore circadian biology and how it impacts the care of respiratory patients. Join this webinar to explore the influence of sleep on circadian rhythms and how sleep can drive pathological effects through the circadian clock.

Also, a key disruptor of circadian rhythms is shift work as this disrupts the normal oscillation. Doctors and other healthcare professionals often do shift work as part of their job and therefore this is one of the reasons they get the disease. This seminar seeks to explain the consequences of this.

During this session, participants will be able to:

  • Understand the mechanisms behind the cellular clock
  • Be able to describe how circadian biology affects pulmonary inflammation
  • Explain how the circadian clock impacts the diagnosis and treatment of asthma and pulmonary fibrosis
  • Grasp how circadian biology impacts the health of doctors
  • Recognise emerging treatments to treat circadian rhythm disturbances
  • Explain how these rhythms are under the control of a specific network of proteins termed the circadian clock
  • Discuss evidence linking this to many respiratory diseases such as primary graft dysfunction, Asthma, COPD and acute lung injury

This will be relevant to students, trainees, respiratory registrars, ITU registrars, neurology registrars, consultants, scientists and those specialising in Sleep Medicine. 

A CPD certificate with 2 CPD credits will be issued to those joining the webinar live as well as those who watch the recording afterwards. Certificates will be issued 7 days after the webinar to those who watch it live and after 30 days for those that watch the recording. 

Registration for this webinar will close 2 hours prior to the start time. You will receive the webinar link 2 hours before the meeting. Late registrations will not be accepted. 

This webinar is available for on-demand viewing. The webinar recording will be available for registered delegates up to 30 days after the live webinar broadcast via Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

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We would like to thank our sponsor CamNtech Ltd. for their support of this webinar. Please note that the scientific programme and content has not been influenced in any way by the sponsor.

Key speakers

Professor David Ray

Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Oxford 

Speaker's biography

Professor David Ray trained in general internal medicine in North West England and obtained a PhD from the University of Manchester. He was a research fellow at UCLA for two years, working on neuroendocrine-immune interaction, before returning to the UK, and obtaining a GSK fellowship to work on glucocorticoid action and sensitivity in inflammatory disease. He was promoted to professor of medicine at the University of Manchester in 2005 and went on to study nuclear receptor and circadian biology in inflammation, and energy metabolism. This work attracted Wellcome Investigator and MRC programme grant support.

Professor Ray is a passionate advocate of research training, serving on the MRC clinical fellowship panel for seven years and three years as deputy chair.

Circadian mechanisms regulate most mammalian physiology with particular importance in the regulation of innate immunity, through the macrophage in particular, and energy metabolism, regulating the liver, adipose and muscle. These circuits are also regulated by a number of nuclear receptors, which show a striking interdependency on the circadian machinery; some having ligand availability regulated by the clock, others varying in expression level through the day. They have employed a range of approaches to address the physiological importance of the circadian: nuclear receptor system, ranging from population genetics, experimental medicine studies, CRISPR engineered mice and cell biology. These approaches have discovered how the important dimension of time regulates metabolism and coordinates diverse tissues to deliver optimal organismal performance. Importantly, they are identifying how external stressors can decouple these systems, with deleterious effects.

Professor Debra Skene

Professor of Neuroendocrinology University of Surrey 

Speaker's biography

Professor Debra Skene is section lead of chronobiology. She has over 25 years of research experience studying the human circadian timing system and has authored over 190 refereed research publications. Her recent research has been funded by the EU FP6, FP7 and H2020 programmes, UK Cross Research Council New Dynamics of Ageing (NDA) Programme, BBSRC (UK), MRC Newton, NIH and Vanda Pharmaceuticals. She is a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award Holder.

Professor Skene is past-president of the European Biological Rhythms Society (EBRS) (2012-2019), secretary-treasurer (2002-2009), vice-president (2012-2015), and is a past vice-president (basic) of the European Sleep Research Society (ESRS) (2010-2014). In 2009, Professor Skene established the Joint ESRS-EBRS Symposia that take place each year at the biennial ESRS and EBRS Congresses. She is past-chair of a Gordon Research Conference (Pineal Cell Biology, 2012), currently the associate editor of the Journal of Sleep Research and on the Editorial Board of Chronobiology International; Sleep and Biological Rhythms and Clocks & Sleep. She is a past co-director of Stockgrand Ltd and Surrey Assays Ltd, university-based companies specialising in the measurement of melatonin and other circadian rhythm markers.

Professor Skene and her team's research is directed towards the characterisation and treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders as experienced by blind people, shift workers and older people. Her team's findings have led to the optimisation of melatonin (dose, time of administration) and light (wavelength, time of administration) to affect the human circadian clock. Professor Skene has pioneered studies on the spectral sensitivity of the human circadian axis, being one of the first to show the importance of short-wavelength blue light. These results have important implications for the design and use of lighting in situations such as the treatment of circadian rhythm sleep disorders, adaptation to shift work as well as in work and living environments.

Currently, Professor Skene's research team is studying the links between human circadian clocks, sleep and metabolism in health, circadian disorders and metabolic diseases (shift workers, Type 2 diabetes, liver disease). Investigating the effect of time of day, circadian clock, sleep and food influences on the human metabolome using targeted LC-MS metabolomics is currently a major focus.

Professor Russell Foster

Professor of Circadian Neuroscience University of Oxford

Speaker's biography

Professor Russell Foster is the head of Oxford’s Nuffield Laboratory of Ophthalmology, the founder and director of the Sleep and Circadian Research Institute and is a Fellow of Brasenose College Oxford.

His research addresses how circadian rhythms and sleep are generated and regulated and what happens when these systems fail as a result of societal pressures, ageing and disease. A key finding has been the discovery and characterisation of an unrecognised light-detecting system within the eye that regulates circadian rhythms and sleep and, most recently, the translation of these findings to the clinic.

For his work, Professor Foster was elected to the Fellowship of the Royal Society in 2008, the Academy of Medical Sciences in 2013, and was honoured by being appointed as a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in 2015 for services to Science. He has been a member of the Governing Council of the Royal Society and he established and led for six years the Royal Society Public Engagement Committee. He is a Trustee of the Science Museum. Professor Foster has published over 270 scientific papers and has received multiple national and international awards. He has also written four popular science books and is working on his fifth.


View the programme

Welcome and introduction

Dr John Blaikley

Circadian regulation of pulmonary disease

Prof David Ray

How circadian rhythyms mediate adverse effects of shift work - this talk will not be recorded

Prof Debra Skene

Circadian, Sleep and Light Interactions: Signalling pathways to new therapeutics

Prof Russell Foster

Panel discussion and questions




Disclaimer: All views expressed in this webinar are of the speakers themselves and not of the RSM nor the speaker's organisations. 

Special rates for difficult times 

The RSM wishes to offer healthcare professionals continued learning opportunities during the coronavirus pandemic. The RSM’s weekly COVID-19 Series webinars remain free of charge, while there will be small charges to register for other online education. These fees will enable the RSM to continue its programme of activities and will apply during the course of the pandemic. 

Webinar recordings will be available for registered delegates up to 30 days after the live webinar, via Zoom. The link will be sent 24 hours after the webinar takes place. 

This webinar will be recorded and stored by the Royal Society of Medicine and may be distributed in future on various internet channels.  

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