Lizzie Tilden

MSTP in PhD Training

Program: Neurosciences

Current advisor: Yao Chen, PhD

Undergraduate university: Brandeis University, 2018

Enrollment year: 2019

Research summary
Exploring the role of PKA in sleep regulation

I am currently working in the lab of Yao Chen, where I am studying the PKA dynamics during the natural sleep-wake cycle. Although it has long been recognized that sleep is a highly conserved and necessary behavior for many living organisms, the exact mechanisms of sleep regulation and sleep pressure are still largely unknown. PKA plays an integral role in a variety of signaling pathways in the brain, including those involved in neuromodulation and is thought of as a major integrator of brain signals. This, combined with previous research showing major changes in the phospho-proteome after sleep deprivation makes PKA a good candidate for further study in relation to sleep. In the Chen Lab, we can track the activity of PKA using Fluorescence Lifetime Photometry (FLiP) in freely behaving animals for extended periods. By running 24-hour simultaneous EEG and FLiP recordings, I can characterize the animals sleep behavior throughout the circadian cycle and begin to explore the potential patterns of PKA activation in real time without disrupting the animals natural sleep cycle.

Graduate publications