Director, Paul Hardin, Texas A&M University
Paul E. Hardin, John W. Lyons Jr. ’59 Chair and Distinguished Professor of Biology at TAMU, is internationally recognized as an authority on molecular clock mechanisms and their control of rhythmic outputs. As a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Michael Rosbash at Brandeis University he discovered the first circadian feedback loop in gene expression – regulation of period (per) mRNA cycling by PER protein in Drosophila – which laid the mechanistic framework for circadian timekeeping in all eukaryotes. His subsequent research has defined sequences and factors that control feedback loop progression, identified interlocking feedback loops that control rhythmic transcription and overt rhythms in behavior, and revealed circadian regulation of the olfactory and gustatory systems in Drosophila. He won the Research Excellence Award at the Full Professor level (Univ. of Houston), the Sigma Xi Faculty Research Achievement Award (Univ. of Houston), was named a John and Rebecca Moores Professor (Univ. of Houston), and won the Distinguished Research Award (TAMU), the Aschoff-Honma Prize (Honma Life Science Foundation, Japan) and the Distinguished Alumnus Award in Biology (Indiana Univ.). He serves as a member of Editorial Boards for the Journal of Biological Rhythms and FLY, and has held multiple leadership positions in his field of research including secretary, treasurer, comptroller, vice president and president of the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms.
Deborah Bell-Pedersen, Texas A&M University
Deborah Bell-Pedersen, Professor and Associate Head of Biology at TAMU is recognized as a leader in understanding the mechanisms by which circadian oscillators control rhythmic gene expression. Her interest in circadian clocks began with postdoctoral studies in the laboratories of Dr. Jay Dunlap and Dr. Jennifer Loros at Dartmouth Medical School in which she focused on molecular studies of the circadian biological clock in the model organism Neurospora crassa. Her work currently focuses on understanding how the clock regulates mRNA transcription and translation, and how defects in the clock are linked to cancer in humans.
She joined the Biology faculty at Texas A&M University in 1997, rising to Professor in 2007. She serves as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Biological Rhythms, and has held several leadership positions in her field, including serving on the Board of Directors for the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms and the Fungal Genetics Society and as Chair of the Neurospora Policy Committee. She has been awarded the TAMU Jo Ann Treat Award for Excellence in Research, Eminent Scholar Award, Distinguished Award in Research, and was granted the honorary title of University Professor. She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.
David Earnest, Texas A&M University
David Earnest, Professor of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics at the Texas A&M University System Health Sciences Center, is an eminent leader in the application of multidisciplinary approaches to study of the mammalian circadian clock in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) and its regulation by light-dark cycles. He pioneered the identification of key components of the pathway for circadian photoentrainment and the development of immortalized cell lines as models for studying the cellular and molecular components of the SCN circadian clock. Current research includes studies of how developmental alcohol exposure in a rat model for Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) alters the SCN clock and how molecular components of the circadian clockworks regulate toxin metabolism and carcinogenesis. Among his many service commitments, Dr. Earnest has been an invited reviewer on panels for the NIH, NSF, and private foundations.