Recipe for Sleep
Neuroscientist Chiara Cirelli: Uncovering Sleep
Chiara Cirelli Studies Shuteye
Neuroscientist Cirelli wants to find a recipe for sound sleep.
Is necessary for all animals
Varies among animals
Is a powerful restorative
In what phase of sleep do humans dream?
REM = Rapid Eye Movement
Sometimes quite similar to brain waves of wakefulness
During the REM phase of sleep, brain waves are
Why Do We Sleep?
What some scientists suspect
What Cirelli suspects
Cirelli's Synaptic-Strength Hypothesis
Testing Cirelli's Hypothesis
Fruit Flies Are Model Organisms
Fruit flies are perfect tools for studying heredity, or genetics.
Cirelli uses fruit flies to study genes that affect sleep.
Sleep Genes and Fruit Flies
Fruit flies have a lifespan of a few months, and female fruit flies lay eggs every day
Fruit flies sleep about 12 hours every night
Scientists know almost all the genes for about a dozen species of fruit flies
Sleepless in Madison
Previously, Cirelli would awaken sleeping fruit flies by shaking the test tubes where they ate and slept.
Now, Cirelli uses a robotic arm that tilts and drops a frame containing the test tubes of sleeping fruit flies, jolting them awake.
Cirelli Discovers Minisleeper Flies
Minisleeper flies have a genetic mutation that allows them to function on less sleep than normal flies
Minisleeper flies also have "shaker" gene mutation
Humans have a similar gene and protein
Problem: minisleeper flies don't live as long as sleepier ones
How might Cirelli's work with fruit fly genes eventually help humans sleep better, and what is the "fly in the ointment" of such an application?