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Dr Annie Curtis

Dr Annie Curtis

‘Harnessing the Power of the Body-Clock to control Inflammation'

Dr Annie Curtis, Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland

Inflammation is a key target in the treatment of chronic inflammatory disease (including cardiovascular, respiratory, metabolic, neurodegenerative disease and cancer). Collectively these conditions present the greatest challenge to human health. Within our cells we have a timekeeping system called “the molecular clock” or “body clock”, which regulates sleep/wake patterns and energy metabolism throughout the day. Within the cell mitochondria are organelles that produce energy. However, exciting findings now link mitochondria to the inflammatory response.

I propose that the molecular clock in immune cells regulates mitochondria not only for energy but also to control inflammation. This fellowship will examine mitochondrial-related pathways that are different in immune cells lacking a clock, and allow us to manipulate these pathways for the treatment of inflammatory disease. It will support our work on investigating associations between circadian rhythms and inflammatory disease in 500,000 UK residents. These studies will provide explanations for why we are more prone to inflammation at certain times of day and why conditions of clock disruption, such as shift-work, chronic jet-lag and exposure to light-at-night, cause increased risk of inflammatory disease. These results will inform us as to how we treat but also the time-of-day we treat inflammatory conditions.

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