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TARC Faculty

Jonathan Wisor

Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience (Spok.) – Departmental Page
Wisor, Jonathan


Sleep insufficiency has a number of negative effects on health and well-being. The function that is served by sleep and the mechanisms by which sleep insufficiency causes health problems are not well understood. The purpose of my research program is to identify functional consequences of sleep and sleep loss within the nervous system. My laboratory is currently funded by both the Department of Defense (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, Young Faculty Award, Grant Number N66001-09-1-2117) and NINDS (R15NS070734) to apply molecular genetic and biochemical techniques in studies of the regulation of sleep within brain circuits. These projects are aimed at characterizing the roles of genetic loci and discrete cell populations within the cerebral cortex in regulating sleep and sleep-related electroencephalographic wave forms. We use antibody-based ex vivo sorting to isolate CD11b-positive microglia from cerebral cortex tissues. This preparation results in a highly enriched pool of cerebral microglia, which can be used for biochemical assays or can be cultured with neuronal populations in order to ascertain the effects of neuronal-microglial interactions on sleep-related oscillations in vitro. We use gene expression and protein profiling in microglial and neuronal cell populations to identify putative regulators of sleep. We use germ line targeted optogenetic constructs to modulate the activity of discrete cell types and measure the effects of these manipulations on sleep. Working with research partners, we then perform studies on human subject populations to apply the findings of basic neurobiological studies to issues related to human health.