Research Overview
The Meijer lab focusses on 24-hour rhythms in bodily functions. Rhythms of 24-hours are generated in an evolutionary old part of the brain, called the suprachiasmatic nuclei. Individual cells of this structure produce rhythms of about 24-hours. The clock cells are mutually synchronized and are responsive to external light to adapt to the external light-dark cycle. Disturbances in the clock can give rise to sleep disturbances, obesity and depression. Artificial illumination, shift work, and life style are a challenge for our 24-hour system in modern society.

Topics of the Meijer group

  1.  Neuronal network organization of the circadian clock
  2. Light effects on the SCN clock; the visual circadian system
  3. Clinical: aging, sleep, metabolic syndrome, depression, fraxile X, ADHD
  4. Sleep and exercise: bidirectional interaction with the SCN clock
  5. Complexity theory; emergent properties of hierarchical neuronal networks
  6. Chronopharmacology: optimizing time of drug application
  7. Field research, animal welfare, population dynamics

Current special positions/functions of JH Meijer

  • Visiting Professor Oxford University
  • Member of the Royal Dutch Society for Sciences
  • Scientific member of the Organisations for Social Partners in Hospitals in the Netherlands; StAZ (non academic hospitals) and SoFoKleS (Academic Medical Centers). Design shift work for nursing staff. (Zie app Nachtarbeid)
  • Member of the Life Sciences Board, Lorentz Center, Leiden
  • NWO board ‘Complexity’
  • Academic Ambassador of the City of Leiden

Recent prices

  • 2016: Aschoff and Honma Prize in Biological Rhythm Research (International Selection Committee, chaired by Dr. Takao Kondo)

Recent highlights of last years

  1. Meijer, JH. The mammalian circadian pacemaker: an adaptive timekeeper for an ever changing environment. (Ed. K-I Honma.). Sapporro Univ press. Price winning chapter.
  2. Fifel K, Meijer JH, Deboer T (2018). Long-term effects of sleep deprivation on neuronal activity in four hypothalamic areas. Neurobiol Dis. 109(Pt A):54-63. doi: 10.1016/j.nbd.2017.10.005.
  3. Lucassen EA, Coomans CP, van Putten M, de Kreij SR , van Genugten JHLT, Sutorius RPM, de Rooij KE, van der Velde M, Verhoeve SL, Smit JWA, Löwik CWGM, Smits HH, Guigas B, Aartsma-Rus AM, Meijer, JH. (2016) An absence of circadian cues leads to deterioration of muscle, bone, and immune function. Current Biol. IF 9.647.
  4. Gu C, Coomans CP, Hu K, Scheer FAJL, Stanley HE, Meijer JH (2015) Lack of exercise leads to significant and reversible loss of scale invariance in both aged and young mice. PNAS, 112(8), 2320-2324. IF 9.81.