Personal profile

Teaching

I participate in two final year courses and a second year coure.

The Chronobiology course is taught jointly with other MANCHESTER-based scientists with an research interest in clocks. This course provides an overview of biological timing systems and biological rhythms, their evolution and the implications of biological clocks in matching the behaviour of animals to daily, tidal and seasonal rhythms in the environment. We emphasise current understanding of physiological and molecular process regulating biological rhythmicity, as well as a knowledge of how chronobiology is relevant to wild organisms and humans. Our intention is to produce an integrated course with extends from ecology and neurobiology through to an understanding of the genetic and cellular processes involved in biological timing. This one of the fastest moving and exciting areas of biology, and requires integration of knowledge across different species models and cellular/physiological systems.

The Hormones and Behaviour course is now one of the largest and popular final year courses in the Faculty, and is attended by students from many different degrees. I teach the entire course myself. The course focuses on how hormones and primary genetic mechanisms drive behavioural pathways in vertebrates, with a focus on mammals. Initially, we focus on sexual differentiation of the brain, and how steroids modify brain structures. We then move to how olfactory pathways are involved and the role of oxytocin and vasopressin, and the evolution of monogamy and polygyny and brain peptide pathways. Other topics include genomic and behavioural imprinting. Model systems include sexual mimicry in African Hyenas, evolution of weapons and antlers, marsupial biology, and man and the great apes.

I also deliver lectures on a second year course in physiology (hibernation and adaptation to life in extremes) and tutorials in Zoology and Neuroscience.

Each year we take 3-5 undergraduate or Master-level stydents into the laboratory to project work. We also provide opportunities for overseas students (ie Erasmus exchange) to work with us for periods of 3-9 months.

Biography

1972
BA Zoology, University of Oxford
1979
PhD Zoological Sciences, University of Edinburgh
1980
Research Fellow, Hill Farming Research Organisation, Edinburgh
1981-1983
Lecturer, University of Edinburgh.
1983
Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London.
1984-1992
Head, Physiological Ecology Unit, Zoological Society of London.
1991
Visiting Research Scholar at the NSF Center for Biological Timing, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA.
1992
Head, Reproductive Biology Group, Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London
1993
Visiting Professor, Department of Biology, University College London.
1994-present

          Beyer Professor of Animal Biology, School of Biological Sciences, University of Manchester.

2019-2022

            Visiting Professor in Chronobiology, University of Oxford

Research interests

CHRONOBIOLOGY

The brain of all vertebrates contains a circadian clock, driving daily rhythms of behaviour, physiology and the neuroendocrine system. Systems as diverse as hibernation, seasonal reproduction and fattening cycles, daily activity and feeding cycles and sleep-wake rhythms are all driven via output from the circadian clock, entrained by light via specialised neural pathways. We are interested in how clocks time physiology and behaviour, and their relevance for normal physiology and disease. Our approach is primarily genetic, and we use as models transgenic mice – many now engineered locally using CRISPR-based technology. For our studies of seasonal timing mechanisms, we use sheep and for hibernation studies the Alaskan Arctic ground squirrel. Currently, we have 3 post-doctoral scientists in the laboratory, 3 technicians, 2 PhD students, and in collaborative programmes involving an additional 5 post-doctoral scientists. 

 

Overview

Andrew Loudon is the Beyer Professor of Animal Biology at the University of Manchester, UK (1995 to present) and is based in the Centre for Chronobiology. He trained at the University of Oxford (undergraduate degree Zoology), and then at the University of Edinburgh (PhD, 1976). He remained at the University of Edinburgh as a research fellow and later as an academic member of staff, working on the neuroendocrinology of photoperiodism in mammals. He moved in 1983 to take up a post of head of Endocrinology at the Institute of Zoology, Zoological Society of London and University of London, where he worked on the control of embryonic diapause in marsupials. Later, as Director of the Reproductive Biology group, he was involved in embryo-transfer programmes for endangered species, and mechanisms of reproductive synchronisation. He was also involved in re-introduction programmes in China. He moved to Manchester in 1995. Here, he established Chronobiology as a major theme at the University of Manchester, and the group has now expended to include 12 independent PIs, with both basic science and clinical translational interests, and has personally developed a programme investigating the circadian control of innate immunity. His other research interests include mechanisms involved in hibernation – in collaboration with the Institute of Arctic Biology, Alaska, the genetic mechanisms driving seasonal cycles – in collaboration with the Roslin Institute, Edinburgh, and fundamental studies of cellular time-keeping, in collaboration with the Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge. He was awarded the UK Endocrine Society Research Medal in 2014, was elected to fellowship of the Academiae Europae (2011), Society of Biology (2014), and the Academy of Medical Sciences (2015). He is currently a Wellcome Trust investigator, and is also supported by MRC/BBSRC funding from the UK, and an international Human Frontiers Programme Grant.

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water

External positions

Visiting Professor in Chronobiology, Oxford University

28 Jan 201928 Jan 2022

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Lydia Becker Institute

Keywords

  • Chronobiology

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